Government

Osage Congress to continue further action on ARPA-related bills Aug. 2

The Seventh Osage Nation Congress will next meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 2 to continue its consideration of legislation with requests for American Rescue Plan Act funding for several projects and endeavors.

More than 25 bills filed and sponsored by Osage Congress members came as the Nation learned it would receive about $108 million in ARPA funding after applying for the federal relief aid as did various tribes and local and state entities nationwide once the U.S. Congress approved the ARPA bill earlier this year. The special session commenced on Saturday, July 24 and continued into the following week.

The priority spending discussion comes as the total amount in filed Osage legislation requesting ARPA funding exceeds the $108 million confirmed ARPA funding the Nation is receiving. Tribal officials noted a second round of ARPA funding is coming, but the timeframe on when and the amount for a second distribution is unknown.

After discussion of spending priorities and potential reduction to the ARPA funding request amounts, the 12-member Congress voted to reconvene Monday morning, giving the members time to mull the bills that will be considered for amendments and eventual final votes.

In discussing the various bills, the Congressional members, along with participation by Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn, signaled they would be giving priority consideration to ARPA-related bills concerning: direct assistance to enrolled Osage members; infrastructure improvements to the three village communities, as well as water infrastructure improvements for Barnsdall; costs toward new and improved Primary Residential Treatment (PRT) facilities; bills for proposed senior housing at Hominy and Fairfax, as well as an assisted living facility; and costs to continue some 2020 projects already launched with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding and administrative costs.

As of July 30, a total of 20 bills considered by the Congressional committees referred to Congress are now on General Order Day 2 of the Osage legislative process where Congress members may propose amendments. That process is expected to start when the session reconvenes Aug. 2.

Special sessions may last up to 10 days and may be extended up to three additional days at two-thirds of Congress members' written request. Otherwise, Congress members can motion and vote to end a special session once all legislative business is deemed complete.

For more Congressional information and to view filed legislative bills/ resolutions, visit the Legislative Branch website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch.