Video: Jaime Herrera Beutler’s bipartisan bill to remove 19th Century prohibition on tribal lands passes U.S. House

Bill would help Chehalis Tribal Reservation bring jobs, economic development to Southwest Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s bipartisan bill to repeal an antiquated 19th century prohibition of distilleries on tribal land passed the U.S. House by unanimous voice vote Wednesday night.

Jaime’s bill would allow tribes to increase economic development by permitting distilleries on tribal lands. The Chehalis Tribe is planning to build and operate a distillery, brewery and restaurant that would bring about 100 new jobs to Southwest Washington.

“This issue is a matter of fairness; Washington, D.C. shouldn’t be in the business of telling Indian country it cannot engage in a business that’s allowed everywhere else and is actually helping many neighboring areas revitalize their local economies. I was proud to shepherd this bill through the House in a bipartisan manner,” Jaime said. “The Chehalis Tribe had the vision for this economic development and together, we’re successfully cutting through federal bureaucracy to repeal an 1834 law. I’m hopeful the Senate will also swiftly pass its bill so Indian tribes across the country will be allowed to distill on their own land, and provide new jobs not just for tribal members, but to neighboring communities as well.”

“The Chehalis Tribe is grateful for the House of Representatives’ overwhelming bipartisan support in repealing this antiquated, paternalistic law,” Chehalis Tribe Chairman Harry Pickernell Sr. said. “Today’s passage of H.R. 5317 not only promotes tribal sovereignty and self-determination, but it will also benefit tribal and local economies nationwide. I look forward to swift action on the bill in the Senate and would like to extend our thanks to Congresswoman Herrera Beutler for her leadership on this issue.”

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.