Friday, September 07, 2007

Native American Housing Assistance - Walberg Votes No

Native Americans have suffered a great deal throughout this country's history. From European diseases to forced relocation to broken treaties, North America's original inhabitants have faced discrimination, misguided "assimilation" efforts aimed at destroying cultures, and a lack of support from the federal government.

Although this has changed some in recent decades, Native Americans still face discrimination and a high poverty rate. In 1995:
Of all ethnic groups in this country, Native Americans who live on reservations are the most impoverished. Over 20% of Native American reservation households have annual incomes below $5000, compared with 6% for the overall U.S. population. Only 8% of reservation households have annual incomes greater than $35,000, compared with 18% for the overall U.S. population.
And, more recently:
Based on a three-year average, 24.3 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives lived in poverty from 2003 through 2004. This rate was not much different from poverty among African-Americans (24.4 percent) and Hispanics (22.1 percent).

But it more than twice the poverty rate of Whites (10.5 percent) and more than twice the poverty rate of Asians (10.6 percent) for the same period, the Census Bureau reported.

The percentage of Native Americans without insurance was also high. Based on a three-year average, a whopping 29.0 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives did not have health coverage, a rate surpassed only by Hispanics (32.6 percent).

In comparison, the percentage Whites without insurance was 14.6 percent while among Asians it was 18.0 percent.
With all of this in mind, it would seem reasonable to me that it might be worth it to provide some federal assistance to Native Americans. In 1996, Congress passed the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, an act "to provide Federal assistance for Indian tribes in a manner that recognizes the right of tribal self-governance, and for other purposes." Tribal governments received block grants to help provide affordable housing.

Now, the program is up for reauthorization, with HR 2786, sponsored by Michigan's own Congressman Dale Kildee. A full summary of the bill is available here. It's estimated cost is $8.00 per American over the next five years.

HR 2786, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2007, passed the House of Representatives, 333 to 75.

Tim Walberg voted No. He and Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra were the only members of the Michigan delegation to oppose the bill.

Lately on Walberg Watch, the main focus has been on the candidates hoping to replace him, and, in one case, a candidate's chief of staff. To be honest, I'd much rather spend my time focused on Tim Walberg. But I couldn't for the last month or so, because he really hasn't been doing much of anything newsworthy while the House was on its recess.

Now that they're back in action and voting on legislation, we see that he's the same old Tim Walberg. Apparently, he couldn't spare $8.00 over the next five years.

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Does this suprise anyone? He probably doesn't know it, but he has a huge Native American presence in the Western half of the district including a growing Reservation which is poised to make a huge economic impact in the area soon.

Too bad he doesn't understand anything and just votes NO on everything. That's the easy way when you don't have a clue, nor really care. He just lost the support of an entire nation of people! What a fool!
A "huge" Native American presence?

How many? Do they vote? With all that casino money, they should start paying their own way now.
So you think we should treat Native Americans like a totally separate section of society and not give them assistance. But we should give it to every one else? Why? Because some tribes have business ventures while other tribes live in squalor? I wasn't aware that one of the requirements for federal assistance was voting records. Next time you plan on making slightly racist comments don't post anonymously.
A racist comment is one where someone claims a citizen is not electable because they are, say, Jewish.

The only point I am making about Native Americans is in response to the first poster. If the tribe in question is "poised to make a huge economic impact," why should we subsidize their housing? Isn't one of the goals of allowing Indian gaming one which would allow them to provide for themselves?

Walberg is opposed to legal gambling, and my point, which I didn't express, was the screwwed up logic of Walberg's. He will oppose Native American's rights to build a casino, to create their own income, but he won't vote to help them if they remain in poverty.

And, my callous "do they vote" question was a cynical guess at why Walberg opposes helping them. He is only concerned with pleasing those who vote for him (guns, Christian God, and gays) or with those who fund him (uber-rich, New York City fatcats.)

aikoadam, there are no "slightly" racist comments. Only racist or not racist. I am not racist. I am trying to understand what is going on in Tim Walberg's pea-brain and trying to flesh out how he is out-of-touch with his district.

When I call out someone for claiming there is a "huge" Native American presence, I am trying to bring some reason into the debate. I don't think anything I said was racist nor do I understand how you leap to that conclusion. And, why would it make any difference if I had a screen name?
Thanks for clarifying your position. Your first post reads differently than your intent.
The Nottawasippi Band hasn't made a dime yet, because self-rightous people like Walberg and other "moralists" make every attempt to block them from become self-sufficient. Yes, some tribes have become quite well off and successful and may no longer need assistance, but the Band in Walberg's District, which numbers well over 3,500 people are still struggling. The other poster was right, Walberg opposes gambling, AND he won't fund them to help them for some of the basics such as housing.

I'm quite sure he's never visited the Reservation and he probably thinks the local tribe is still living in teepees and sending smoke signals.

Bottom line, Walberg doesn't give a damn about anyone but voting, pro-life Christians, primarly on the East side of the district.

I sincerely hope the tribe here becomes self-sufficent. I know the Saginaw Tribe is doing quite well and they are making many efforts to improve themselves and become good corporate citizens.

BTW, gambling isn't the only enterprise they are invovled in. They are now key players in resort mangagement, golf course operations and are bringing tourist dollars to the the state and region.

More power to them!
Last week Walberg voted to support the Liberian refugees and he won't support the indigenous people in his own district. How sad.
Well, as fitzy posted back in April, we know the Liberian connection. If it weren't for this personal experience, Walberg wouldn't even know Liberia existed. (kinda' like his 7th Distric constituents).

Following is what fitz posted:

My wife Sue and I have a unique personal story which led us to become involved in this issue.

For almost a year, we had a Liberian refugee stay in our home. This gentleman came from dire circumstances in Liberia, as his wife was brutally assaulted and he was beaten and forced to leave his country. He still has scars from when he was beaten with the blunt end of a rifle.

During the time our friend lived in our home, we developed an appreciation for his culture and were deeply moved by his commitment to his family and his homeland. He pursued higher education and worked several jobs so he could send financial assistance back to Liberia.
Though it is true that some Native American tribal gov are doing quite well, from the proceeds of casinos and other ventures.
But have you every tried to get any assistance from these tribes?
I myself am over half Native American and the most assistance I've ever received was they paid 200.00 dollars on a utility bill. But that was all they could do. So if the tribal gov are getting rich ( and I think they are) they sure do not pass it to the members of the tribe. I believe they should. I appreciate your stance and beliefs, if more citizens like yourself would speak up, this great nation could move forward in helping minorities and everyone else who needs it.
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