Floor Statements

Mr. President, I rise today to commend and extend my deep gratitude to Senator Inouye for his leadership of the Select Committee on Indian Affairs. With his devotion and guidance, the committee established an impressive record of accomplishment during the 100th Congress. I am pleased and honored to have the opportunity to serve as the vice chairman of the committee during this Congress. I look forward to a continuation of the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which has marked Senator Inouye's tenure as chairman. I also want to extend my welcome to Senator Cochran and Senator Conrad. I am pleased that they will be joining us on the committee and look forward to working closely with them.
It is my hope that during this Congress we will see a great strengthening of oversight capabilities and functions of the committee. During the past 15 years, the Congress has enacted several major bills relating to Indiana. I believe that it is very important for us to use a portion of our time in this Congress to assess the implementation of this legislation and, as appropriate, to refine it. I am also very concerned about several areas which have not been addressed by the Congress for many years. Among the issues which we need to examine anew are Indian forestry programs and irrigation systems. The implementation of Federal environmental laws on Indian lands should be thoroughly reviewed. We must take steps to assist tribal governments to improve law enforcement and the administration of justice in Indian country. Innovative and bold measures are needed to improve the deplorable economic conditions on the reservations. And last, but certainly not least, we must find effective ways to end the tragic physical and emotional abuse which plagues Indian children and families.
Mr. President, the need for careful review and deliberation is great. I am gratified to serve with a chairman and a committee which shares this view. I look forward to a productive Congress in which we identify and enact constructive approaches to these and other issues.