NCAI Releases Analysis of Obama Administration Budget

Published on Apr 12, 2013

Concerning Cuts to Contract Support Costs and School Construction, Promising Signs of Commitment to the Trust Responsibility in Law Enforcement, Health, and Natural Resources

Washington, DC – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has released an in-depth analysis of President Obama’s 2014 Budget Request. The organization is deeply concerned about proposed cuts that threaten recent progress in critical areas. The most concerning budget cuts include: unilateral reductions in contract support services – legally binding costs for services delivered by tribes in place of the federal government, education and school construction cuts, and reduced spending on low-income housing.

“We see signs of hope in the President’s proposal to replace the sequester and expand investments to enhance tribal law enforcement and strengthen the Indian Health Service but now is not time to slow the progress we have seen in Indian Country. The federal government must live up to its obligations in critical trust responsibility areas like contract support costs, education, and housing,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI. “We’ve experienced decades of the federal government falling short, and while we understand the limitations of the federal government, the federal trust responsibility to tribal nations and our peoples, is not a line item.”

NCAI and tribes have called for the sequester to be replaced, since it threatens the trust responsibility and reduces portions of the budget that are not major contributors to the deficit. Promising signs in the President’s budget request, include the following actions to strengthen tribal nations:

  • Public Safety: Increases for public safety initiatives in Department of Justice and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

  • IHS: A small overall increase in the IHS budget and increases for IHS contract health services.

  • EPA: An increase for Environmental Protection Agency’s General Assistance Program.

  • Natural Resources (BIA): $32 million in increases for natural resource programs in BIA.

  • Carcieri: Language to provide a no-cost economic development and jobs creation solution for restoring land to tribal governments impacted by the Carcieri Supreme Court decision is included in the Department of Interior general provisions of the President’s budget.

NCAI will work to ensure that the federal programs that fulfill the trust responsibility to tribes receive bipartisan support in the appropriations process.

On April 10, the President released a $3.78 trillion budget for FY 2014, which would cut $1 trillion in spending and raise $800 billion in new revenue over the next ten years. This broadcast provides a preliminary analysis of the President’s FY 2014 budget request, highlighting impacts on funding for Indian programs. In the coming weeks, the President’s budget will be reviewed by Congress, and appropriations subcommittees will continue holding hearings on the proposals. In January of this year, NCAI released its FY 2014 tribal budget recommendations, which can be compared to the Administration’s budget.

Read the full budget analysis here

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