Published on Feb 15, 2012
Pushes Bi-Partisan Support for Tribal Budget Priorities
Washington, DC – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) released an initial analysis today of the FY 2013 Budget as proposed by the Obama Administration. The report details proposed investments and reductions in Indian Country priorities and programs. The inclusion of a number of tribal priorities reflects – in part – increased tribal consultation to identify Indian Country’s top priorities. The analysis also indicates the budget proposal is a good step toward meeting bipartisan goals for Indian Country - government efficiency, more program flexibility for tribes, and no-cost solutions for strengthening tribal and rural economies. The report underscores the fact that these are important steps on a long journey and sustained investments are necessary to ensure tribes fully contribute to a robust recovery.
“The Administration’s budget requests are a good first step in reflecting the priorities that Republicans, Democrats, and Administration officials have heard from tribal leaders in consultations and Congressional hearings. Congress should seize the moment and work to develop and pass a budget that fully addresses Indian Country’s priorities,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI, the nation’s oldest and largest American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy organization. “Indian Country understands the federal government is constrained, that’s why we’ve called for increased flexibility for tribal programs and have identified no-cost provisions that strengthen tribal economies. We know what will work for our nations and we call on Congress to include Indian Country in finalizing a budget plan that grows tribal economies and meets the federal government’s trust responsibility.”
On February 13, the Obama Administration released a $3.80 trillion budget request to Congress. NCAI’s Analysis of the President’s FY 2013 Budget Request provides initial analysis of all major areas and agencies which oversee and administer funding for Indian Country. Many tribal programs fall into the category of discretionary domestic funding. In preparation for the President’s budget, some agencies have consulted with tribes about programs in the budget. NCAI produced a report in January 2012 that outlined the consultation efforts of all federal agencies.
In the budget analysis, NCAI highlights the no-cost solution included in the budget proposal for restoring lands to tribal governments impacted by the Carcieri Supreme Court decision. NCAI’s review also emphasizes the importance of sustained funding for tribal self-determination, critical to the economic foundation of Indian Country and the benefits tribes offer to surrounding rural and regional economies. Recommendations from Indian Country that were included in the FY 2013 proposal include increases for contract support costs, some natural resource and environmental protection programs, public safety initiatives, and contract health services.
While the Administration’s budget proposal maintains support for critical programs, there were some cuts that represent major setbacks to progress in Indian Country. One example is in funding for Bureau of Indian Education construction, where proposed cuts reduce funding to $52.8 million, down from $140.5 million in FY 2011 and $70.8 million in FY 2012. These cuts would directly impact economic growth and job creation in communities hit hardest by the economic downturn.
NCAI’s Analysis of the President’s FY 2013 Budget Request comes just weeks after the release of NCAI’s comprehensive FY 2013 Indian Country Budget Request.
- Download NCAI’s Analysis of the President’s FY 2013 Budget Request
- Read and Review NCAI’s FY 2013 Indian Country Budget Request
HIGHLIGHTS OF PROPOSED FUNDING FOR TRIBAL PROGRAMS
Economic Development and Land Restoration
Included in the President’s FY 2013 Budget Proposal is a no-cost economic development and jobs creation solution for restoring land to tribal governments impacted by the Carcieri Supreme Court decision. (p. 758 of the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013, Appendix.)
The budget request for the Indian Health Service is $4.422 billion, an increase of $115.9 million over the FY 2012 enacted level.
Approximately $345 million is proposed for public safety initiatives in Indian Country, with a total of $156.8 million set aside for tribal grant programs within the Department of Justice.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is essentially level-funded, with small increases for Tribal Priority Allocations, contract support costs, Rights Protection Implementation, and Tribal Management and Development, among others.
An increase of approximately $29 million over FY 2012 appropriations is proposed for the Tribal General Assistance Program. These additional funds will assist tribes in capacity building and promote protections for the environment and human health.
Bureau of Indian Education construction is proposed to be cut to $52.8 million. This program was funded at $140.5 million in FY 2011 and $70.8 million in FY 2012.
The Indian Guaranteed Loan Program would decrease to $5 million, a $2.1 million cut
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