On June 18,1934, the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted into law. Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act authorizes the Secretary of Interior to acquire land and hold it in trust for Indians. Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act to restore land to Indian tribes, lands that Indians were dispossessed of by the Dawes Act and other similar laws. For the following 75 years the Secretary of the Interior acquired land in trust for Indians pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act.
On February 24, 2009, the United States Supreme Court held in Carcieri v. Salazar that Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act only applied to Indian tribes that were “under Federal jurisdiction” in 1934.
Since 2009 there have been efforts to legislatively fix the Carcieri decision. A combined total of six congressional hearings have been held related to a Carcieri fix.
The Government Accountability Office also testified in April of of 2011 at a hearing on Regulatory Barriers to Job Creation in Indian Country before the House Government Oversight Committee, Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergvoernmental Relations and Procurement Reform that the Carcieri fix is the first area that needs to be resolved by the Federal government in order to spur job growth in Indian Country.
In the 112th Congress three bills are pending to fix the decision.
S. 676, introduced by Senator Akaka (D-HI), and S. 676 as reported to the Senate. On November 26, 2012, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the Senate floor his intention to bring S. 676 to the floor for a vote, but later in the day he stated negotiations were ongoing and that the bill would be brought up at some subsequent time.
For Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013, President Obama included a Carcieri fix in his Budget to Congress.
See FY 2012 Budget here at page 699.
See FY 2012 Budget here at page 758.