United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye has come up with a new method to get the Akaka Bill passed. He’s inserted a policy rider into the Senate’s draft of a Department of Interior spending bill. The policy rider would allow the federal government to recognize Native Hawaiians in a way similar to how it recognizes Native Americans, Native Indians.
Senator Daniel Akaka has proposed various versions of a Native Hawaiian rights bill since 2000. So far, despite support from the Hawaii congressional delegation, no version of the bill has passed. The chances of passing the bill seemed greatest before the 2010 elections, with a Democratic president from Hawaii, and Democratic power in both the U. S. Congress and the Senate. And with Senator Akaka leaving the Senate with his retirement in 2012, the chances of it passing have seemed even more remote.
Right now, a “super committee” of members of the House and Senate are working to create a budget, as the current budget extension only goes through November 18. As part of that, negotiations are pending on twelve appropriations bills, including the Department of Interior spending bill. The bills include dozens of policy riders.