October 28, 2019

Cortez Masto Introduces Amendment to Study Food Access on Tribal Lands

FDPIR Floor Remarks

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced an amendment to study food insecurity among Native Americans. The amendment would require the federal government to report on access to the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) for program enrollees who are elderly, disabled, homebound or otherwise challenged in physically accessing food assistance.

Below are Senator Cortez Masto’s remarks as prepared for delivery. You may download video of the speech HERE.

M. President, I rise to support Native American communities that face food insecurity.

The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations—commonly known as FDPIR—provides food assistance for 90,000 people in 276 tribes across this country.

Often on tribal lands—certainly in the rural parts of my home state of Nevada—people live miles from a SNAP office or grocery store, and so FDPIR provides a crucial source of nutrition.

But many enrollees in the program still have to pick up FDPIR benefits in person. And for elderly or disabled tribal members, it’s too difficult to make that trip.

I urge my colleagues to vote for this important amendment to study ways to improve access to the program for the homebound and elderly.

And I thank my colleague and fellow member of the Indian Affairs Committee, Mr. Lankford, for his support on this effort.

We want to ensure that no one is going hungry when there’s food waiting for them just a few miles away.

I thank the Senate Leadership for allowing open debate and discussion of the issues facing Indian country on the floor of this chamber.

And I look forward to continued conversations on how to help members of tribes to thrive, grow their communities, and chart a more vibrant future.