By Robert Brodsky
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, wants to provide Alaska Native Corporations with another chance to plead their case for maintaining their contracting preferences - this time with a possibly more receptive audience.
In a letter today to Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, and John Barrasso, R-WY, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Murkowski called for a hearing this fall on the Native American 8(a) program.
Earlier this month, the Homeland Security and Government Affairs' Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight held a hearing on the rapid growth of ANC contracting.
"The subcommittee on contracting oversight hearing was a hostile environment for the Native Corporations and I believe the Indian Affairs panel would provide a fair and impartial environment for Indian tribes, Native corporations and Native Hawaiians to tell their story," Murkowski said.
Murkowski suggested that any review of the 8(a) program should first be examined by the congressional panels with jurisdiction over the issue, including the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee.