June 12, 2018

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill to Allow Tribal Governments to Determine How Programs to Combat Hunger Best Serve Indian Country

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored legislation led by Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) to support tribes across the country to have more control over how federal hunger programs are administered in their communities. The bill would help ensure Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly known as SNAP) is administered in a culturally-appropriate way that promotes the health and economic well-being of tribal communities. 

“Tribal governments understand how best to serve the needs of their community members,” said Cortez Masto. “In order to secure the long-term health of tribal communities, we must empower tribes to fight hunger, meet their basic nutritional needs, and incorporate traditional and indigenous foods by allowing them to participate in the administration of vital federal food assistance programs like SNAP.”

Federal programs to combat hunger and fight food insecurity like SNAP are important to tribal communities. Approximately 25 percent of Native Americans receive some type of federal food assistance, and in some tribal communities, participation is as high as 80 percent. 

In addition to Sens. Cortez Masto and Smith, this legislation is also supported by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.).