Daines Successfully Retains Little Shell Recognition, Montana Defense Priorities in Final NDAA

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he successfully preserved big wins for Montana in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) including the federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and critical defense priorities for Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls.

Daines fought for years to help get federal recognition for the Little Shell Tribe. Earlier this year, Daines successfully fought to include federal recognition of the Tribe as an amendment in the Senate passed NDAA. Daines then successfully demanded it be included in the final NDAA.

“Today is great news for Montana. After a decades long fight, federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe is one step closer to becoming a reality,” Daines said. “I fought hard to ensure Little Shell recognition was retained in the final NDAA. Now, I’m going to keep working until it gets across the finish line and signed into law by President Trump. I look forward to celebrating with Chairman Gray very soon.” To download the audio of the Little Shell quote, click HERE.

Daines also fought to include provisions that will preserve and protect Malmstrom’s mission while safeguarding national security for generations to come.  

“We must ensure that the effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent is reliable, capable, and ahead of the capabilities of our enemies abroad,” Daines said. “I fought hard to ensure we keep critical Montana provisions in the bill that preserve a robust program of nuclear modernization across the next five-year defense plan, and we continue articulating the value of strategic deterrence and the need for nuclear modernization in the face of a wide array of strategic challenges facing the United States and our allies.”

Montana Defense Wins in the NDAA:

  • Prioritizes nuclear deterrence–
    • $552 million for Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD)
    • $27 million for nuclear weapon modernization
  • Extends reimbursement for spouse license and certification costs by two years
  • Aligns the modernization of the W87-1 warhead with the development schedule for the GBSD
  • Expresses the sense of the Senate on support for a robust and modern ICBM force to maximize value of the nuclear triad
  • Rolls back the widow’s tax that limits the amount of benefits a gold star family can get

Daines has made it one of his top priorities to get Little Shell the federal recognition they deserve:

  • In early September, Daines wrote a letter calling on the leaders of the Armed Services Committees to retain a provision in the final version of the NDAA.
  • In late June, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the NDAA which included an amendment proposed by Daines that secured federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe.
  • In early June, Daines successful included the Little Shell recognition into the must pass NDAA bill
  • In late January, Daines voted to advance the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act out of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
  • In early January, Daines and Tester reintroduced the bipartisan legislation to grant the Little Shell Tribe federal recognition.