I want to take a moment to share some exciting news. Today, we are announcing the final rule publication on the Buy Indian Act supplementing acquisition regulations, specifically procedures for contracting. The final rule will strengthen our requirements to set-aside contracts for Indian-owned and controlled businesses.
The rule supports the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2020, which requires the HHS Indian Health Service and the Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs to harmonize Buy Indian Act procurement procedures. The Buy Indian Act is specifically applicable to IHS and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The final rule will:
· alleviate unnecessary regulatory burden on Indian Economic Enterprises;
· expand application of the Buy Indian Act to all construction including the planning, design and construction of health care facilities, personnel quarters, and water supply and waste disposal facilities;
· better adhere to the language of the Buy Indian Act;
· strengthen oversight of the Buy Indian Act to reduce the potential for fraud and abuse;
· and clarify the preference for Indian Economic Enterprises;
This rule hits on an important aspect of our strategic plan regarding strengthening IHS program management and operations. Specifically, it will improve business processes that support value-based purchasing and standardized management strategies in contracts to advance the agency’s mission, and it will support economic sustainability and development in Indian Country. This eﬀort is just one example of our commitment to tribal communities in support of the President’s plan for Tribal nations and aligns with his Build Back Better Framework to improve the economic conditions and deliver meaningful outcomes for tribal communities across Indian Country.