indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Bush administration seeks another cut in BIA budget
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Filed Under: Politics

In the last budget of his administration, President Bush on Monday announced a cut of nearly $100 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The fiscal year 2009 budget seeks $2.2 billion for the agency that serves more than 550 tribes and more than 1.6 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. The request represents a 4.4 percent decrease from current levels and a 5.1 percent decrease from last year's budget.

At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Secretary Kempthorne acknowledged the financial constraints facing the Interior Department. But he said the fiscal year 2009 budget includes increases to beef up law enforcement on reservations and improve education levels at BIA schools.

"I learned about the devastating impact brought on [Indian] communities by drug cartels and I learned about Indian schools still lagging in education performance," Kempthorne said as he described why he is seeking $26.6 million to help tribes combat methamphetamine and $25.5 million to improve student achievement.

"Safety and educational opportunities lie at the foundation of every community's future," he added.

The only other area that saw a notable increase was economic development. The budget seeks $8.2 million, an increase of $2 million, for the BIA's guaranteed loan program, which helps tribes and Indian businesses.

That meant that reductions were seen in almost every part of the agency. There was a $27.6 million cut to school construction, $22 million cut to welfare assistance, a $12.5 million cut to roads maintenance, a $10.6 million cut for self-governance compacts, a $5.9 million cut to scholarships and adult education and a $2.3 million cut to tribal courts.

There were also three outright eliminations. The budget seeks to remove $21.4 million in Johnson O'Malley education grants, $13.6 million for the Housing Improvement Program and $9.8 million for Indian land consolidation.

The first two cuts were expected, as the White House tried to eliminate them last year only to see them restored by Congress. But the removal of the Indian land consolidation program -- which had been a top priority of the administration -- came as somewhat of a surprise.

In the case of JOM and HIP, Kempthorne said similar programs exist at the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. "So rather than duplicate these programs, we have simply identified that we have other agencies -- with greater resources than we do -- that can still meet the needs of Indian Country," he said.

As for Indian land consolidation, Kempthorne said the program hasn't been effective because Congress hasn't appropriated enough money for it. Under the program, the department has been acquiring small ownership interests in individual Indian allotments in order to reduce administrative costs and make the land more usable for economic development.

"While we see the merits of that, the amount of money that was budgeted is not going to allow us to move forward," Kempthorne said.

In an interview following the budget presentation, Special Trustee Ross Swimmer said the department consolidated more 360,000 fractionated interests since a pilot program began more than five years ago. But about 1.5 million new interests were created during the same time, wiping out any potential progress.

"Congress punted," Swimmer said, noting that a similar attempt back in the 1930s to address fractionation was not funded by lawmakers.

Swimmer and his principal deputy, Donna Erwin, said OST is talking with tribal leaders about new approaches to fractionation. While the 2009 budget won't have money for the program, they said consolidation is on the table in the future.

OST's budget request of $181.6 million was $7.7 million below current levels. There were increases to address the probate backlog, to improve beneficiary services and to continue account for individual and tribal trust funds.

"This amount may be revised depending on the outcome of any further court rulings in Cobell v. Kempthorne or congressional action," budget documents state.

Just last week, a federal judge ruled that an adequate historical accounting of the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust was "impossible" due to Congressional restraints and other limitations. "I don't know where this ultimately goes but it is time for it to be resolved," Kempthorne said the day after the decision.

Overall, the administration requested $10.7 billion for the Interior Department.

FY2009 Budget:
In Brief | BIA | OST | DOI [from OMB] | PART Ratings

Relevant Links:
Department of the Interior - http://www.doi.gov

Related Stories:
Secretary Kempthorne to roll out DOI budget (2/4)
Kempthorne previews BIA's upcoming budget (2/1)
Bush administration press conference on Thursday (1/30)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tribes mount another fight after Trump approves another pipeline (3/24)
Native Sun News Today: Navajo elders continue long fight on land (3/24)
Editorial: Just another day of trying to keep up with the Trumps (3/24)
Elizabeth LaPensée: Video games encourage indigenous culture (3/24)
Mary Annette Pember: Native women work with youth offenders (3/24)
Tiffany Midge: Trump continues to conjure hero Andrew Jackson (3/24)
John Kane: Seneca Nation money train coming to end in New York (3/24)
Grand Ronde Tribes secure approval of school mascot agreement (3/24)
Editorial: Federal recognition for tribes in Virginia is long overdue (3/24)
Seneca Nation ends casino payments after sending $1.4B to state (3/24)
Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on nominee (3/23)
Internal tribal disputes continue to trip up federal court system (3/23)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care gains ignored in political debate (3/23)
Native Sun News Today: Young fighters maintain Lakota tradition (3/23)
Ivan Star Comes Out: America loses its self-respect and humanity (3/23)
Rosalyn LaPier: Why water remains sacred to indigenous peoples (3/23)
Winona LaDuke: North Dakota spreads filth about water protectors (3/23)
Harold Monteau: Tribal governments are abusing their own people (3/23)
Alex Jacobs: Donald Trump in middle of the 'deep state civil war' (3/23)
Secretary Zinke announces 'doggy days' for Interior Department (3/23)
Keystone XL Pipeline route crosses Ponca Tribe's forced removal (3/23)
Indian lawmaker resigns after being charged for child prostitution (3/23)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation buys site of long-delayed casino project (3/23)
High court pick acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (3/22)
Dakota Access submits another status update entirely under seal (3/22)
Court allows claim for alleged underpayment in Cobell settlement (3/22)
South Dakota tribes continue to extend Class III gaming compacts (3/22)
Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (3/22)
Native Sun News Today: Community project continues at Pine Ridge (3/22)
Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred site complains about delays (3/22)
Mary Annette Pember: Awareness for missing and murdered sisters (3/22)
Stacy Pratt: Visiting the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee (3/22)
Murder charge filed for fatal shooting of Navajo Nation police officer (3/22)
Muckleshoot Tribe still seeking answers for fatal shooting by officer (3/22)
Hopland Band submits claim for county raid of marijuana operation (3/22)
Chukchansi Tribe sued for $21M by gaming development company (3/22)
Seminole Tribe accused of breaking contract with outlet at casino (3/22)
Indian Child Welfare Act survives attack from conservative groups (3/21)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (3/21)
Ponca Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.