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Removing Restriction On Distribution Of Revenues To Certain Members Of Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians

Rep. Barbara L. Cubin

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 700) to remove the restriction on the distribution of certain revenues from the Mineral Springs parcel to certain members of the Agua Caliente Band of Agua Caliente Indians.

The Clerk read as follows:

Senate amendment: Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert:

Congress finds that-- (1) among its purposes, the Act entitled ``An Act to provide for the equalization of allotments on the Agua Caliente (Palm Springs) Reservation in California, and for other purposes'', approved September 21, 1959, commonly known as the ``Agua Caliente Equalization Act of 1959'' (25 U.S.C. 951 et seq.) (referred to in this section as the ``Act'') was intended to provide for a reasonable degree of equalization of the value of allotments made to members of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; (2) the Act was enacted in response to litigation in Federal courts in Segundo, et al. v. United States, 123 F. Supp. 554 (1954); (3) the case referred to in paragraph (2) was appealed under the case name United States v. Pierce, 235 F. 2d 885 (1956) and that case affirmed the entitlement of certain members of the Band to allotments of approximately equal value to lands allotted to other members of the Band; (4)(A) to achieve the equalization referred to in paragraph (3), section 3 of the Act (25 U.S.C. 953) provided for the allotment or sale of all remaining tribal lands, with the exception of several specifically designated parcels, including 2 parcels in the Mineral Springs area known as parcel A and parcel B; (B) section 3 of the Act restricted the distribution of any net rents, profits, or other revenues derived from parcel B to members of the Band and their heirs entitled to equalization of the value of the allotments of those members; (C) from 1959 through 1984, each annual budget of the Band, as approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, provided for expenditure of all revenues derived from both parcel A and parcel B solely for tribal governmental purposes; and (D) as a result of the annual budgets referred to in subparagraph (C), no net revenues from parcel B were available for distribution to tribal members entitled to equalization under section 3 of the Act referred to in paragraph (1); (5) by letter of December 6, 1961, the Director of the Sacramento Area Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs informed the regional solicitor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the equalization of allotments on the Agua Caliente Reservation with respect to those members of the Band who were eligible for equalization had been completed using all available excess tribal land in a manner consistent with-- (A) the decree of the court in the case referred to in paragraph (2); and (B) the Act; (6) in 1968, the files of the Department of the Interior with respect to the case referred to in paragraph (3), the closure of which was contingent upon completion of the equalization program, were retired to the Federal Record Center, where they were subsequently destroyed; (7) on March 16, 1983, the Secretary of the Interior published notice in the Federal Register that full equalization had been achieved within the meaning of section 7 of the Act (25 U.S.C. 957); (8) section 7 of the Act states that ``allotments in accordance with the provisions of this Act shall be deemed complete and full equalization of allotments on the Agua Caliente Reservation''; and (9) the regulations governing the equalization of allotments under the Act referred to in paragraph (1) were rescinded by the Secretary, effective March 31, 1983.

In this Act: (1) Band.--The term ``Band'' means the Agua Caliente Band. (2) Parcel b.--The term ``parcel B'' means the parcel of land in the Mineral Springs area referred to as ``parcel B'' in section 3(b) of the Act entitled ``An Act to provide for the equalization of allotments on the Agua Caliente (Palm Springs) Reservation in California, and for other purposes'', approved September 21, 1959, commonly known as the ``Agua Caliente Equalization Act of 1959'' (25 U.S.C. 953(b)). (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the Interior.

(a) In General.--The full equalization of allotments within the meaning of section 7 of the Act entitled ``An Act to provide for the equalization of allotments on the Agua Caliente (Palm Springs) Reservation in California, and for other purposes'', approved September 21, 1959, commonly known as the ``Agua Caliente Equalization Act of 1959'' (25 U.S.C. 957) is deemed to have been completed. (b) Expiration of Entitlement.--By reason of the achievement of the full equalization of allotments described in subsection (a), the entitlement of holders of equalized allotments to distribution of net revenues from parcel B under section 3(b) of the Act entitled ``An Act to provide for the equalization of allotments on the Agua Caliente (Palm Springs) Reservation in California, and for other purposes'', approved September 21, 1959, commonly known as the ``Agua Caliente Equalization Act of 1959'' (25 U.S.C. 953(b)) shall be deemed to have expired.

(a) In General.--The fourth undesignated paragraph in section 3(b) of the Act entitled ``An Act to provide for the equalization of allotments on the Agua Caliente (Palm Springs) Reservation in California, and for other purposes'', approved September 21, 1959, commonly known as the ``Agua Caliente Equalization Act of 1959'' (25 U.S.C. 953(b)), is amended by striking ``east: Provided,'' and all that follows through the end of the paragraph and inserting ``east.''. (b) Applicability.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply as if this section had been enacted on March 31, 1983. (c) Subsequent Distributions.--Any per capita distribution of tribal revenues of the Band made after the date of enactment of this Act shall be made to all members of the Band in equal amounts.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Cubin) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Miller) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Cubin).

Rep. Barbara L. Cubin

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 700 would remove a revenue distribution restriction created in Public Law 86-339, a 1959 statute which related in part to the distribution of certain revenues to certain members of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

This bill is an amended version of H.R. 700 which we passed last year. Since we passed H.R. 700 last year, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Agua Caliente Band have discovered that a different piece of legislation is needed.

H.R. 700, as amended, reflects the changes which the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has made to the bill which we passed last year. I agree with those amendments.

H.R. 700, as amended, finds that equalization allotments on the Agua Caliente Reservation have been completed and that the regulations governing the equalization allotments under the 1959 Agua Caliente Equalization Act were rescinded in 1983.

H.R. 700, as amended, provides that the special entitlements of certain members of the Band have expired and, thus, that any per capita distribution of tribal revenues of the Band shall be made to all members of the Band in equal amounts.

This is a fair and equitable bill. It will have no impact on the Federal budget, contains no intergovernmental or private sector mandates, and would impose no costs on state, local or tribal governments. I recommend that H.R. 700 be adopted by this body.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. George Miller

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. MILLER of California asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. George Miller

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Mr. Speaker, I am supporting this bill. We passed it out of the House last year. Basically the bill removes a restriction on a piece of property owned by the Agua Caliente Tribe in downtown Palm Springs, California. The restriction, part of the 1959 law, provides that revenues from this property would first go to the 85 Members of the Tribe who lost lands in the use to create tribal property. This asks Congress to remove the restriction so it can distribute the revenues general rated from the Spa Casino, which sits on the property, to all members of the Tribe.

The House-passed bill would have compensated 85 members with a cash payment of $22,000 each. The Senate determined that the 85 Members have already been compensated and the property restriction was not intended to last indefinitely.

I want to once again, however, state for the record my objection to per capita payments to tribal members from any gambling casino. I think that ultimately, this is unwise, and if we are ever to amend the Indian gaming act, this is one of the issues that Congress will have to reexamine. The administration supports this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Kildee).

Rep. Dale E. Kildee

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Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Miller) for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to join the gentlewoman from California (Mrs. Bono) in supporting H.R. 700. As Chairman Richard Milanovich indicated to the members of the Committee on Resources, this bill will resolve a dilemma which has been hanging over the Agua Caliente tribe for almost 50 years.

This legislation reflects the solution to a long-standing problem that the tribe has addressed within their governmental process and structure. The only reason Congress must consider this issue is because back in 1959, we imposed restrictions on how the tribe was to resolve an internal issue. I want to point out that both the Justice Department and the Department of the Interior have reviewed this legislation and the tribe's proposed solution to their problem as embodied in H.R. 700, as amended by the Senate.

The amendments added by the Senate improve the bill and recognize the fact that full equalization to all members of the tribe was achieved in 1961.

Mr. Speaker, this bill enjoys the overwhelming support of the tribe and the 85 affected allottees. In fact, over 60 percent of the voting-age members of the tribe have taken the time to write to this committee expressing their support for this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this bill that should have been adopted nearly 40 years ago.

Rep. Sonny Bono

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 700.

The Agua Caliente Band of Indians, located in California's 44th Congressional District, have suffered a dilemma for nearly 50 years. This legislation addresses this problem by seeking to remove the restriction on the distribution of certain revenues from the mineral springs parcel to certain members of the Agua Caliente tribe.

H.R. 4699 recognizes that full equalization under the law was provided to all members of the tribe in 1961. Regrettably, the 1959 act that outlined the equalization procedures, failed to contain a critical provision that removed the distribution restrictions once full equalization was attained. That mistake is rectified today by this legislation.

Through the passage of this bill, the tribal council has informed me that they intend to provide health insurance and decent housing as well as educational and employment opportunities for its members. This bill will provide the necessary mechanisms for the tribe to make these goals a reality.

This bill enjoys a tremendous amount of support. The House of Representatives passed by voice vote similar legislation introduced by my late husband, Congressman Sonny Bono, and Congressman Dale Kildee last year. In addition, this legislation has been reviewed by, and enjoys the support of, both the Justice Department and the Department of the Interior.

Finally, this bill reflects an agreement that the tribe and the allottees have reached themselves. As such, it reaffirms our commitment to furthering the Federal policy of self-determination and self-governance.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

Rep. George Miller

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Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Barbara L. Cubin

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Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentlewoman from Wyoming (Mrs. Cubin) that the House suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill, H.R. 700.

The question was taken.

Rep. George Miller

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Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.

Pursuant to clause 5, rule I, and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.