Perez, the former Obama-era labor secretary who beat out Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to become the DNC leader in February, blasted the Trump administration for attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, claiming its repeal would have devastating effects on tribal communities.
“The United States has long guaranteed Native Americans access to healthcare, mostly through commitments the federal government made to Indian tribes in exchange for land,” Perez wrote in an op-ed published Monday in The Los Angeles Times.
“Repeal of Obamacare would put much of this tribal healthcare at risk, including the care received by more than 290,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives through the Medicaid expansion,” he continued.
Perez accused the Trump administration of abandoning the U.S. government’s decades-long “promises to Indian Country” by promoting the privatization of Indian lands and resources, a move he said bears “striking” resemblance to a “catastrophic” Eisenhower-era policy.
“Every president since Nixon has embraced a policy of ‘self-determination without termination’ — the idea that Native Americans are best equipped to govern themselves,” Perez wrote. “Trump is breaking with this position.”
Perez also slammed Trump for suggesting that Native Americans were unfairly benefitting from federal housing block grants that provide affordable housing development on reservations. The president suggested in a signing statement on an appropriations bill in May that grants allocating “benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender” were of questionable legality.
The National American Indian Housing Council challenged Trump’s assertion by noting that “tribal programs are rooted in the United…