05.23.18

Daines Introduces Legislation to Protect Tribes from Costly Obamacare Employer Mandate

Senator Steve Daines today announced the introduction of legislation to protect Native American tribes from Obamacare’s costly employer mandate.

The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act will exempt tribes and tribal employers from Obamacare’s employer mandate. The bill prevent massive fines that tribal employers would incur under Obamacare’s employer mandate.

The employer mandate places an undue burden on tribes, leading to lost jobs and increased unemployment. Instead of bolstering tribal economies, it drives out opportunities and wages. Tribal members were already exempt from the individual mandate in the original Obamacare law. This legislation upholds the United States' trust responsibility to Indian tribes while honoring the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the U.S. government.

“The Obama Administration’s flawed law would burden Montana’s tribes with millions of dollars in penalties,” said Daines. “My legislation will remove the double standard Obamacare placed on Indian tribes and save tribal governments and employers from potentially crippling job loss and unjust fines they cannot afford to pay.”

This week, at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing, Daines announced he would be reintroducing his legislation and received confirmation from David Kautter, Acting Commissioner of the IRS, that the IRS is still working to exact fines for non-compliance with the employer mandate against tribal governments, tribally owned businesses, and tribal organizations in the same way that they are coming after other large employers.

Indian Affairs hEaring

Watch video HERE.
Download video HERE.

Read the full bill text, HERE.

Statements of Support:

“Imposing the employer mandate on tribal nations is inconsistent with the federal trust and treaty responsibilities. This legislation introduced by Senator Daines would ensure tribal employers are not required to subsidize the federal government’s obligation to provide health care to tribal citizens.” -  Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians

“Obamacare was a highly-flawed piece of legislation, placing an undue financial burden on Tribal governments in the form of expensive employer mandates.  This was not intended to honor the government-to-government relationship between Tribes and the US government — instead it uses Tribal funds to pay for the health care of non-Members.  It also has the direct negative effect of destroying much-needed jobs on the reservation.  Relief, in the form of legislation, will correct this injustice.  We appreciate Senator Daines’s understanding of this issue and support him fully in his efforts.” - A.J. Not Afraid , Chairman of the Crow Tribe

“The tribes appreciate the senator reintroducing this legislation. This bill will ensure that tribes are true partners in providing access to care for our members and employees without fear of penalty from the IRS. We need all of our limited resources to be directed at improving the lives of our members.” - Floyd Azure, Chairman of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation

Background:

On May 25, 2018, at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing, Daines announced he would be reintroducing the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act.

On July 15, 2015, Daines and Representative Ryan Zinke announced the introduction of Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act to protect Native American tribes from Obamacare’s costly employer mandate.

 

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