June 20, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), recently cosponsored an amendment to the committee-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. The amendment, offered by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), requires the U.S. Secretary of Defense to report to the SASC on the implementation of the Native 8(a) program. This measure ensures justification and approval for all Sec. 811 contracts.
“This amendment ensures that contracts in the Native 8(a) program are being fully utilized in communities across the nation,” said Inhofe. “The required report from the U.S. Secretary of Defense will provide Congress with an update on the success of the Native 8(a) program. Under these guidelines, we can make sure these contracts are not abused while improving the competiveness of American Indian small-businesses as they bid for Defense contracts.”
Sarah Lukin, Executive Director of the Native American Contractors Association (NACA), said, “NACA applauds Senator Inhofe and Senator Begich for their recent bi-partisan effort regarding Native 8(a)s. By requiring a Department of Defense report to Congress on the implementation of Section 811 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Senator Inhofe and Senator Begich will ensure proper oversight and transparency of 8(a) government contracting, without unfairly targeting Native businesses. The SBA 8(a) program has proven a valuable tool in helping Tribes in Oklahoma and Nationwide diversify their businesses, create jobs, and provide benefits for their people. The Senators support of Native 8(a) comes at a critical economic time, when America should be seeking out every opportunity to expand businesses and jobs in Indian Country, and every U.S. community, not limit them.”
Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle, “The Choctaw Nation applauds Senator Inhofe’s work to improve the Native 8(a) program. The amendment he offered with Senator Begich to the National Defense Authorization Act will provide useful information to policymakers so that they can ensure the structure of the program continues to benefit Oklahoma’s natives in the way that was originally intended. We thank him for his leadership on this issue.”