Congressional Letter Calls on Agency to “Engage in Meaningful Tribal Consultation” Prior to Issuing Rules Affecting Tribal Nations
CEDAR CITY, Utah – The Cedar Band of Paiutes today applauded a letter (attached) sent to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson regarding Mortgagee Letter 2019-06. The letter, co-sponsored by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA) and Tom Cole (R-OK), underscored the serious bipartisan concern over HUD’s April 18th ruling which, if implemented, would have caused a “significant detrimental impact on one or more tribal nations.”
The letter also highlighted how the agency “must follow federal policy on consultation with tribal nations…which provides that federal agencies shall not make regulations, policy statements, or take actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes and that impose substantial direct compliance costs.”
Additional signers of the letter include: Reps. Sharice Davids (D-KS), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM).
“By undermining the rulemaking process which requires any federal agency to consult with tribal nations before drafting policies, HUD has set a dangerous precedent in disregarding its own ‘Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation Policy’ and Executive Order 13175, the ‘Consultation with Indian Tribal Governments requirement’” said Michael Whipple, executive with the Cedar Band of Paiutes’ housing agency. “We thank Congresswoman Axne and Congressman Cole, as well as each other Member of Congress who signed onto this letter, for their leadership on this issue and for defending the sovereignty of tribal nations.”
To date, HUD has failed to fulfill its obligations to engage in tribal consultation in its attempts to either eliminate or severely limit down payment assistance programs provided by governmental entities, including down payment assistance programs offered by Native American tribes. Although HUD ultimately withdrew the Mortgagee Letter after litigation brought on by the Cedar Band of Paiutes, the agency recently announced plans for a proposed rulemaking that would have a similar devastating impact on tribal nations.
The Cedar Band of Paiutes wholly owns and operates Cedar Band Corporation, which wholly owns CBC Mortgage Agency (CBCMA), a provider of secondary financing to homebuyers receiving loans from the Federal Housing Authority. The Band heavily relies on the revenues generated from CBCMA and other Band enterprises to support its essential governmental programs.
“HUD’s action issuing Mortgagee Letter 19-06 in every way tramples on the self-determination of the Cedar Band, and threatens the sovereignty of all tribal nations throughout the country,” added Whipple. “We hope that HUD adheres to both Executive Order 13175 and its own policies when considering implementing future rules that affect the sovereignty of all Tribal nations.”
About CBC Mortgage Agency
CBCMA provides secondary financing to borrowers, who are receiving loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). CBCMA takes great care to ensure that the FHA loans perform well, including providing education as well as 12 months of counseling to borrowers after the purchase of their home. In addition, CBCMA regularly reviews its credit standards to ensure that the borrowers it assists are credit worthy.
CBCMA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cedar Band Corporation, a federally chartered tribal corporation wholly owned by the Cedar Band of Paiutes, a federally recognized American Indian band. For more information about CBCMA and its programs, visit chenoafund.org.