Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

H.R. 511 Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act

November 17, 2015

Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 511 the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act:

H.R. 511 Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act
November 17, 2015

Mr. Speaker:

    There is no need today to catalog the litany of promises made and broken by this government to the American Indian Nations.  

    The sum total of these broken promises amounted to the banishment of these, the first Americans, to the most desolate and undesirable lands in the nation.  We left them with one thing only – their sovereignty over these lands.  

    In the past half century, many of these tribes have created from their sovereignty great engines of prosperity with which to provide for themselves and their posterity.

    And suddenly, our government’s disinterest in their welfare, its benign neglect of their affairs, has changed.  Now that they are prosperous, our government has developed a canine appetite to intervene in their affairs.

    For 70 years after the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act, the federal government recognized the internal independence of these tribal governments, established of, by and for their rightful members.  It recognized that unless Congress specified otherwise, the Indian nations were free to conduct their own affairs on their sovereign lands and to organize their enterprises according to their own traditions, customs, conditions and necessities.

    That is, until 2004, when the National Labor Relations Board decided to shatter these decades of legal precedents and to usurp the legislative powers of the Congress.  

    The NLRA was never intended to apply to governments and the American Indian Nations have always been recognized as governments.  That is, until the NLRB decided to radically and fundamentally change the law that created it in the first place. 

    The question before this House is whether Congress will reassert its authority over a rogue executive agency and -- for a change -- honor the promises of tribal sovereignty made to these nations more than a hundred years ago.