[Senate Report 109-201]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



                                                       Calendar No. 318
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    109-201

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          AMENDING PUBLIC LAW 107-153 TO MODIFY A CERTAIN DATE

                                _______
                                

                December 8, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

 Filed under authority of the order of the Senate of November 18, 2005

                                _______
                                

    Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1892]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 1892) to amend Public Law 107-153 to modify a certain 
date, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                Purpose

    The purpose of S. 1892 is to address the possibility that 
the statute of limitations is running or has run on legal 
claims that Indian tribal governments may assert against the 
United States, related to the management of tribal funds that 
are held in trust by the United States, as a result of 
reconciliation reports provided to the tribes by the Department 
of the Interior in response to Section 304 of the American 
Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994, (25 U.S.C. 
4044, P.L. 103-412, Title III, 304), and to further encourage 
the negotiated settlement of such legal claims. The bill does 
not address issues relating to Individual Indian Money 
accounts.

                               Background

    Congress enacted Public Law 107-153 to deem that certain 
reconciliation reports provided to Indian tribes beginning in 
January of 1996 were received no earlier than December 31, 
1999. Such action was necessary to prevent the assertion that 
these reconciliation reports commenced the running of the 
statute of limitations at a date earlier than December 31, 
1999, so as to preserve Indian tribes' claims for losses to or 
mismanagement of their trust funds related to these 
reconciliation reports; to prevent the immediate filing of 
numerous tribal claims that would consume federal government 
resources better reserved for other matters; and to encourage 
negotiated settlements of such claims.
    Because the provisions of Public Law 107-153 could arguably 
be interpreted to extend the period for filing of claims 
related to the reconciliation reports only to December 31, 
2005, S. 1892 was introduced to amend Public Law 107-153 so 
that such reconciliation reports are deemed to have been 
received by an Indian tribe on December 31, 2005, adding 
another six years to the potential filing period. This would 
essentially prevent the assertion that the reconciliation 
reports commenced the running of the statute of limitations at 
a date earlier than December 31, 2005, and would prevent the 
potential for multiple adjudications with varying and 
inconsistent results, and allow the Department of the Interior 
and Indian tribes to continue to negotiate settlements of any 
potential claims related to the reconciliation reports. The 
Committee understands that the Department of the Interior is in 
negotiations with several tribes regarding the settlement of 
potential and real claims related to the mismanagement of 
tribal trust fund accounts.
    The reconciliation reports at issue in Public Law 107-153 
were issued by the Department of the Interior to Indian tribes 
beginning in January 1996 in response to section 304 of the 
American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994 (25 
U.S.C. 4044), which required that the Department of the 
Interior provide Indian tribes with reconciled account 
statements as of September 30, 1995. Since then, questions have 
arisen as to the adequacy and reliability of the reconciliation 
reports, and as to whether such reconciliation reports 
constituted an ``accounting'' for purposes of the language set 
forth in numerous Department of Interior Appropriations 
Acts.\1\
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    \1\ To ensure that the statute of limitations did not commence to 
run on certain claims until Indian tribes received an accounting, 
various appropriations acts, beginning in 1991 and through the present, 
included a provision stating that the statute of limitations shall not 
commence to run on any claim concerning losses to or mismanagement of 
trust funds until the affected tribe or individual Indian has been 
furnished with ``an accounting of such funds.'' See, P.L. 101-512 
(Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 
1991); P.L. 102-154 (Department of the Interior and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act 1992); P.L. 102-381 (Department of the Interior and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act 1993); P.L. 103-138 (Department of 
the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 1994); P.L. 103-
332 (Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 
1995); P.L. 104-134 (Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and 
Appropriations Act 1996); P.L. 104-208 (Omnibus Consolidated 
Appropriations Act 1997); P.L. 105-83 (Department of the Interior and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act 1998); P.L. 105-277 (Omnibus 
Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for FY 1999); 
P.L. 106-113 (Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2000); P.L. 106-
291 (Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 
2001); P.L. 107-63 (Department of the Interior and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act 2002); P.L. 108-7 (Consolidated Appropriations 
Resolution 2003); P.L. 108-108 (Department of the Interior and Related 
Agencies Appropriations Act 2004); P.L. 108-447 (Consolidated 
Appropriations Act 2005); and P.L. 109-54 (Department of the Interior 
and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 2006).
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    Although it is not at all clear that the reconciliation 
reports at issue did in fact constitute an ``accounting'' 
sufficient to commence the running of the statute of 
limitations, the Committee is concerned that the immediate 
filing of claims could interfere with the opportunity for the 
United States and tribal governments to pursue continued 
negotiations for the settlement of tribal accounting or 
resource management claims. S. 1892 should not be construed to 
favor any one of the competing interpretations of the 
provisions of the appropriations acts which preclude the 
statute of limitations from commencing to run until an Indian 
tribe has received ``an accounting of such funds.'' Rather, the 
bill solely intends to prevent the assertion that certain 
reconciliation reports received by Indian tribes commenced the 
running of a statute of limitations prior to December 31, 2005.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1892 was introduced on October 19, 2005, by Senator 
McCain for himself and Senator Dorgan, and was referred to the 
Committee on Indian Affairs.

            Committee Recommendation and Tabulation of Vote

    In an open business session on October 27, 2005, the 
Committee, by voice vote, ordered that S. 1892 be reported 
favorably, without amendment, to the full Senate.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The following cost estimate, as provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office, dated November 9, 2005, was 
prepared for S. 1892:

S. 1892--A bill to amend Public Law 107-153 to modify a certain date

    S. 1892 would effectively extend by six years the statute 
of limitations for certain tribal claims against the federal 
government related to federal management of tribal trust funds. 
Under the bill, tribes would have until December 31, 2011, to 
file such claims.
    By extending the deadline for filing claims, S. 1892 could 
increase direct spending from the Judgment Fund for awards 
resulting from claims that might not otherwise be filed. 
Additionally, the bill could affect the timing of payments for 
claims that might be filed under current law. Because the 
effect on the number and timing of tribal claims as a result of 
enacting S. 1892 is uncertain, however, CBO cannot estimate the 
timing or magnitude of any resulting change in direct spending. 
S. 1892 would not affect revenues.
    S. 1892 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. 
Enacting this legislation could benefit Indian tribes by giving 
them additional time to file claims against the federal 
government.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mike Waters. The 
estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

               Regulatory and Paperwork Impact Statement

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires that each report accompanying a bill evaluate 
the regulatory paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 1892 will 
have minimal regulatory or paperwork impact.

                        Executive Communications

    The Committee has received no official executive 
communications on S. 1892.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
enactment of S. 1892 will result in the following changes in 
the law (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in 
black brackets, new matter is printed in italic):

  25 U.S.C. 4044 note (Public Law 107-153, Sec. 1, Mar. 19, 2002, 116 
                               Stat. 79)

    (a) In General.--Nothwithstanding any other provision of 
law, for purposes of determining the date on which an Indian 
tribe received a reconciliation report for purposes of applying 
a statute of limitations, any such report provided to or 
received by an Indian tribe in response to section 304 of the 
American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994 (25 
U.S.C. 4044) shall be deemed to have been received by the 
Indian tribe on [December 31, 1999] December 31, 2005.
    (b) Statement of Purpose.--Subsection (a) is solely 
intended to provide recipients of reconciliation reports with 
the opportunity to postpone the filing of claims, or to 
facilitate the voluntary dismissal of claims, to encourage 
settlement negotiations with the United States.