February 24, 2016

Barrasso Outlines Budget Priorities for Indian Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), sent a views and estimates letter to the Senate Budget Committee to consider when preparing the fiscal year 2017 budget resolution.
Barrasso emphasized the federal government’s responsibility to honor its government-to-government relationship with tribes. He also referenced budget requests made by the administration, and highlighted programs that the SCIA is recommending for inclusion in the budget.
Barrasso underscored several committee priorities related to federal Indian programs and services. These include achieving self-determination, economic development, housing and infrastructure, tribal public safety and justice programs, education, health care services, and treaty-protected natural resources. 
The letter specifically notes the committee’s support for fully funding the payment of contract support costs and increasing the Native American Housing Block Grant from fiscal year 2016 levels. It also recommends increases for the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy, which provides tribal communities with the resources and skills to secure electrical power and service. That funding amounts to $22.93 million, which is $6.93 million above the fiscal year 2016 levels.
“As the Budget Committee moves forward with its FY 2017 budget resolution, it is important that the committee highlight the significance of the United States’ trust, treaty, and other mandated responsibilities to the 567 federally recognized tribes carried out through various federal departments, programs, and services,” wrote Barrasso.
“These unique obligations are rooted in American history and based on the U.S. Constitution, treaties, federal laws, and Supreme Court decisions.”
Click here to read the full views and estimates letter on the president’s budget requests for Indian programs.