Support for Legislation Exempting Tribal Programs from the Effects of Sequestration Under the Federal Budget Control Act of 2011

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TITLE: Support for Legislation Exempting Tribal Programs from the Effects of Sequestration Under the Federal Budget Control Act of 2011

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, tribes and tribal programs are subject to the effects of a process called “sequestration” under the Budget Control Act of 2011 as enacted by Congress in 2011; and

WHEREAS, the Budget Control Act had a provision that requires a reduction to most federal discretional programs by a certain date if the revenues of the U.S. are less than the budgeted amounts for such programs; and

WHEREAS, Congress reached an agreement regarding the impact of sequestration to avoid a government shutdown in 2013 that stated that for the fiscal years 2014 and 2015 sequestration would not go into effect, and that funding of discretionary programs would continue at fiscal year 2013 levels for these fiscal years; and

WHEREAS, the agreement reached by Congress ends at the end of the current fiscal year of 2015 on September 30, 2015, and unless a new agreement is reached, sequestration will go into effect again on March 31, 2016, potentially reducing substantially funds available for Tribal programs as much as 10% or more, including funds for such activities as Tribal colleges and other vital tribal programs; and

WHEREAS, such cuts, if they occur, would be potentially disastrous for tribal colleges and universities and other continuing programs throughout Indian country, and could cripple many other essential tribal programs that assist tribal citizens throughout Indian country, erasing economic gains made by tribes during the past several years, and putting thousands of people out of work at tribes and tribal programs throughout Indian country.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) hereby urges Congress to exempt all Indian programs funded by the federal government from the effects of sequestration for FY 2016 and beyond; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby authorizes and directs its Executive Director to inform Congress and the Presidential administration of NCAI’s position and to provide information to Congress and the President about the potential effects of sequestration on Indian tribes in the United States, and to take such other actions as may be necessary to advance the position of NCAI on this issue; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.