(a) In general
The Secretary shall maintain in the Office of the Secretary an Office of Tribal Relations, which shall advise the Secretary on policies related to Indian tribes and carry out such other functions as the Secretary considers appropriate.
(b) Tribal Advisory Committee (1) Definitions
In this subsection:
(A) Indian tribe
The term "Indian tribe" has the meaning given the term in section 5304 of title 25.
(B) Relevant committees of Congress
The term "relevant committees of Congress" means—
(i) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives;
(ii) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate; and
(iii) the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate.
(C) Tribal organization
The term "tribal organization" has the meaning given the term in section 5304 of title 25.
(2) Establishment of committee (A) In general
The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee, to be known as the Tribal Advisory Committee (referred to in this subsection as the "Committee") to provide advice and guidance to the Secretary on matters relating to Tribal and Indian affairs.
The Committee shall facilitate, but not supplant, government-to-government consultation between the Department of Agriculture (referred to in this subsection as the "Department") and Indian tribes.
(3) Membership (A) Composition
The Committee shall be composed of 11 members, of whom—
(i) 3 shall be appointed by the Secretary;
(ii) 1 shall be appointed by the chairperson of the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate;
(iii) 1 shall be appointed by the ranking member of the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate;
(iv) 1 shall be appointed by the chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate;
(v) 1 shall be appointed by the ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate;
(vi) 2 shall be appointed by the chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives; and
(vii) 2 shall be appointed by the ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives.
The Secretary shall accept nominations for members of the Committee from any of the following:
(i) An Indian tribe.
(ii) A tribal organization.
(iii) A national or regional organization with expertise in issues relating to the duties of the Committee described in paragraph (4).
To the maximum extent feasible, the Secretary shall ensure that the members of the Committee represent a diverse set of expertise on issues relating to geographic regions, Indian tribes, and the agricultural industry.
No member of the Committee shall be an officer or employee of the Federal Government.
(E) Period of appointment; vacancies (i) In general
Each member of the Committee—
(I) subject to clause (ii), shall be appointed to a 3-year term; and
(II) may be reappointed to not more than 3 consecutive terms.
(ii) Initial staggering
The first 3 appointments by the Secretary under paragraph (3)(A)(i) shall be for a 2-year term.
Any vacancy in the Committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment not more than 90 days after the date on which the position becomes vacant.
(F) Meetings (i) In general
The Committee shall meet in person not less than twice each year.
(ii) Office of Tribal Relations representative
Not fewer than 1 representative from the Office of Tribal Relations of the Department shall be present at each meeting of the Committee.
(iii) Department of Interior representative
The Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior (or a designee) shall be present at each meeting of the Committee.
(iv) Nonvoting representatives
The individuals described in clauses (ii) and (iii) shall be nonvoting representatives at meetings of the Committee.
(4) Duties of Committee
The Committee shall—
(A) identify evolving issues of relevance to Indian tribes relating to programs of the Department;
(B) communicate to the Secretary the issues identified under subparagraph (A);
(C) submit to the Secretary recommendations for, and solutions to—
(i) the issues identified under subparagraph (A);
(ii) issues raised at the Tribal, regional, or national level; and
(iii) issues relating to any Tribal consultation carried out by the Department;
(D) discuss issues and proposals for changes to the regulations, policies, and procedures of the Department that impact Indian tribes;
(E) identify priorities and provide advice on appropriate strategies for Tribal consultation on issues at the Tribal, regional, or national level regarding the Department;
(F) ensure that pertinent issues of the Department are brought to the attention of an Indian tribe in a timely manner so that timely feedback from an Indian tribe can be obtained; and
(G) identify and propose solutions to any interdepartmental barrier between the Department and other Federal agencies.
(5) Reports (A) In general
Not less frequently than once each year, the Committee shall submit to the Secretary and the relevant committees of Congress a report that describes—
(i) the activities of the Committee during the previous year; and
(ii) recommendations for legislative or administrative action for the following year.
(B) Response from Secretary
Not more than 45 days after the date on which the Secretary receives a report under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall submit a written response to that report to—
(i) the Committee; and
(ii) the relevant committees of Congress.
(6) Compensation of members
Members of the Committee shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5 for each day (including travel time) during which the member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Committee.
(7) Federal Advisory Committee Act exemption
Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Committee.
REFERENCES IN TEXT Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(7), is section 14 of Pub. L. 92–463, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.CODIFICATION Section was enacted as part of the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994, and not as part of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 which in part comprises this chapter.AMENDMENTS 2018—Pub. L. 115–334 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), inserted heading, and added subsec. (b).
7 U.S.C. § 6921 (2018)