Sen. Dan Inouye’s doing his part to help keep his retiring colleague’s namesake Akaka Bill.
With a straight up-or-down vote in the Senate looking unlikely this year and a Republican-controlled House looming on the horizon, Sen. Daniel Inouye is trying other tactics to get the Akaka Bill through Congress.
Asked in an interview at his office last week about the prospects for the bill during the lame-duck session, Inouye said he wasn’t optimistic about. “I don’t see any activity on that during this period. But I can assure you next year, we’ll put all of our effort (into it). During this period, the primary concern will be sequestration.”
He didn’t mention it at the time, but three days earlier, Inouye had inserted language referring to Native Hawaiian recognition into the Interior Department funding bill, right between “Livestock Grazing Administration” and “Use of American Iron, Steel and Manufactured Goods.”
The move was met with immediate pushback from the GOP.
“I oppose the inclusion of this language and will insist that it be removed before allowing that bill to advance,” Arizona Republican John Kyl said in a statement the day after the amended bill text was released. “I have long opposed the creation of any new government defined by race or blood, but that has always been the core of the various Native Hawaiian tribal recognition bills that have been proposed.”
Asked about the move, Inouye spokesman Peter Boylan said in an email that ”Senator Inouye is committed to achieving self determination for Native Hawaiians. He has and will continue to pursue any and all available avenues.”
— Michael Levine
(Hat-tip to Hawaii Free Press)