Akaka Bill gets promise for calendar spot next year
Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate have given assurances that they will work on getting the Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill placed on the calendar when Congress resumes its session next year, Sen. Daniel Akaka's office announced yesterday.
"My discussions with the leaders were very positive," Akaka said in a news release. "This is welcome news as we break for the holidays."
He said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledged to take the necessary steps needed to bring the measure, S. 147, to the Senate floor next year.
No firm timetable was set, said Akaka spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz. "The senator remains pleased, at this point, on where the bill stands," she said.
Known as the Akaka Bill, the measure would recognize a legal and political relationship between the United States and a native Hawaiian governing entity, giving native Hawaiians self-governing rights similar to those of American Indian tribes.
Earlier this year, congressional leaders agreed that the bill would be brought to the Senate floor on or before Aug. 7, but the measure stalled after concerns were raised by several senators. A vote aimed at forcing action on the bill was then set for Sept. 6 but tabled after lawmakers dealt with emergency measures related to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.
"The senator remains firm in getting this bill through," Dela Cruz said. "This is the best way to go about it, that is, working with the majority leader.
"The majority leader is the one person who sets the calendar. In terms of strategy, you can't get any better than working with the majority leader."