Congress passes bill with tribal disaster declaration section

WASHINGTON, DC—A bill that will allow tribes to request disaster declarations directly from the federal government is headed to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Under the Stafford Act, only states can request declarations. The new bill, H.R.152, amends the law to recognize tribal sovereignty.

“For more than a decade Indian tribes have sought a direct line to the Federal government in order to expedite aid during an emergency or major disaster,” said Rep. Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia), who championed the provision. “Now, with this action by both Houses of Congress, they will finally be...