Senators request Government Accountability Office oversight of loan program that assists Native American veterans in purchasing and improving homes
U.S. SENATE – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are leading their colleagues in calling for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Native American Direct Loan program (NADL). This program allows eligible Native American veterans to finance the construction, purchase, or improvement of a home on Federal trust land.
“Given the passage of time since your 2002 report, the findings from your report, program changes since 2002, and the current low levels of participation by Native American veterans in the NADL program, we are concerned that the program is not effectively serving Native American veterans as intended,” the Senators wrote in a bipartisan letter to GAO.
In their letter, the Senators proposed several questions for Gene L. Dodaro, head of GAO, to address in his evaluation of the NADL program. They called on GAO to lay out VA’s practices to collect comprehensive data on Native American veterans eligible to participate in the NADL program and to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in serving this veteran population.
Additional questions include:
• What practices does USDA’s pilot program use to provide such education and application support and how do these practices compare to those used by VA?
• How does the VA Loan Guaranty Service’s reliance on the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Status Report impact the timeliness of VA’s loan servicing operations?
• What appraisal practices need to be reviewed that specifically relate to Native American home buyers, including those on Native American reservations?
In addition to Tester and Moran, the letter was signed by Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).