WASHINGTON – Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) today released the following statements in response to reports that the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act – legislation that would establish a new governing entity for individuals of native Hawaiian descent – may be added to an Omnibus Appropriations Bill or a Continuing Resolution, one of which must pass Congress and be signed by the president this month, or the federal government will not have the funding to operate.
“Legislation as highly complex and divisive as the native Hawaiian bill requires vigorous discussion, debate, and amendments,” Kyl said. “An attempt to include it in unrelated legislation to keep the government operating is a breach of process and is an example of what the American people are tired of – back room deals that are inserted in secret packages written behind closed doors.”
“I’m concerned by reports that a special Native Hawaiian bill, or any other controversial measure, might be quietly inserted into must-pass legislation that’s needed to keep the government open,” Alexander said. “If the Democratic majority wishes to pass legislation that would create a new, sovereign government within our borders based solely upon race, it should be brought up separately and debated openly on the Senate floor with the opportunity for amendment.”
“This November, Americans spoke and we listened,” said Cornyn. “Unfortunately, some of my Senate colleagues did not hear the resounding message that rejected secret backroom deals and controversial legislative distractions like this, which have no place in important bills that we need to pass keep our government running. I sincerely hope that Senator Reid will not slip this bill into the omnibus bill and reassess his legislative priorities to reflect the wishes of the American people.”
“Any efforts to circumvent the thorough vetting process of Congress to pass Native Hawaiian legislation is an affront to taxpayers and the U.S. Constitution,” Coburn said. “The federal government has already established a process for recognizing tribal groups. Recognizing Native Hawaiians as an Indian tribe and sovereign entity by circumventing the established process not only creates a parallel sovereign government in the State of Hawaii , but will set a dangerous precedent that could threaten the framework of our nation.”
Submitted by US Senate Minority