November 27, 2014

Standing with Native American Communities

Statement from the White House regarding the 2011 federal budget:

 

Having steered the economy back from the brink of a depression, the Administration is committed to moving the Nation from recession to recovery by sparking job creation to get millions of Americans back to work and building a new foundation for the long-term prosperity for all American families. To do this, the 2011 Budget makes critical investments in the key areas that will help to reverse the decline in economic security that American families have experienced over the past decade with investments in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation.

But even as we meet the challenge of the recession and work to build an economy that works for all American families, we must also change the way Washington does business – ending programs that don’t work, streamlining those that do, cracking down on special interest access, and bringing a new responsibility to how tax dollars are spent. The President’s Budget takes the steps to help jumpstart job creation, works to strengthen the economic security of American families, and makes the tough choices to put our Nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility.

To give Native American families the tools that they need to succeed, the Budget will:


Continue Efforts to Increase Access to Health Care for American Indians and Alaska Natives

(AI/ANs). The Budget includes $4.4 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) to expand investments initiated in 2010. Increases for IHS will strengthen existing Federal, tribal, and urban programs that serve 1.9 million AI/ANs at approximately 600 facilities nationwide and will expand access to Contract Health Services to cover health care services provided outside of the Indian health system when services are not available at IHS-funded facilities. The Budget will also fund staff and operating costs at new and expanded facilities to increase access to health care and enhance the Indian health system. The efforts supported in the Budget to expand health services in Indian communities also include an analysis of how IHS can improve distribution of resources throughout the Indian health system.


Empower Tribal Nations. The Administration supports tribal self-determination and will assist tribal governments in enhancing their management capacity. The Budget provides increased funding to better compensate Tribes for the work they perform in managing Federal programs under self-determination contracts and self-governance compacts. Additionally, the Budget includes proposals to foster better coordination between the Departments of the Interior and Justice on Indian law enforcement issues.


Expand access to college and boost Native American college completion. The President’s budget provides $31.7 million in funding for Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities in the Department of Education, a 5 percent increase from 2010. It also includes $3.8 million to strengthen Native American- Serving Non-Tribal Institutions. In addition, the Budget includes $127 million for Post Secondary education for Native Americans within the Department of the Interior. The budget expands the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,550 for the next school year and ensures that future financial aid is reliable by making the Pell program mandatory and increasing the value of the maximum award by the CPI plus one percentage point.


Combat Crime in Indian Country. The Budget includes $19 million to support 45 additional FBI agents for Indian Country and $256 million in grants and technical assistance to increase public safety efforts in tribal areas. The funding for additional FBI agents will be provided on a reimbursable basis through the Interior Department. The Departments of Justice and Interior will coordinate the deployment of Federal public safety resources to best address the public safety needs in Indian Country.

THE FEDERAL BUDGET

FISCAL YEAR 2011

Support Infrastructure Development for Native Americans. The FY 2011 Bureau of Reclamation’s budget supports Native American infrastructure projects and activities. The budget provides $62 million for the Bureau’s ongoing rural water projects. When completed, such rural water supply projects as Mni Wiconi (South Dakota) and Garrison (North Dakota) will serve large on-reservation, tribal populations.

In addition, the Bureau of Reclamation’s budget provides funding for Indian Water Settlements,

including $10 million for the Navajo Nation Water Settlement (a $7 million increase over the FY 2010 enacted level) and $4 million for the Soboba water settlement. The budget also provides $7.5 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Native American Affairs Office--an increase of $1.4 million over the FY 2010 enacted level, which will go toward supporting the Secretary’s Indian Water Rights Office and enable Reclamation to participate on federal negotiation teams.


Provide Funds for Cobell Settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, which is pending

Congressional action and the approval of the Court, approximately $1.4 billion would be distributed to the class members to settle trust management and accounting issues. Each class member will receive $1,000 for their historical accounting claims and may receive additional funds related to trust management claims under a formula set forth in the settlement agreement. The settlement also provides for a $2 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund for the buy-back and consolidation of fractionated land interests over a 10-year period. In addition to purchasing land interests and other trust reform initiatives, the Fund will also contribute up to $60 million for a scholarship fund for the benefit of educating American Indians and Alaska Natives.


Support Lending in Low-Income Communities. The Budget makes affordable financing in low-income communities, including Native communities, available by providing targeted support to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) throughout the Nation. The $250 million in financial support will help these local financial institutions offer affordable loans to small businesses, consumers, nonprofit developers, and home buyers in communities that lack access to affordable credit. Specifically, the budget provides $12 million for the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives, which supports CDFIs that serve Native communities.

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