Economic recovery includes $2.8 billion for Indian Country
Indian Country could benefit from a $2.8 billion boost as part of a national economic stimulus package making its way through Capitol Hill.

The amount is only a small part of the $825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that is heading to the Senate floor. It's also far less than the $6.12 billion that the National Congress of American Indians sought in Congressional testimony on January 15.

But key Senators hailed the inclusion as a positive step in ensuring American Indians and Alaska Natives aren't left out of the nation's economic stimulus. "Nowhere in this nation are jobs and construction improvements more needed than on American Indian reservations," said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

"Tribal communities suffer 50% unemployment rates and longstanding construction needs," added Dorgan, whose committee had recommended $3.8 billion for Indian Country. Dozens of tribal leaders were in Washington, D.C., last week to lobby for their share of the recovery.

Of the amount in the Senate's version of the stimulus, $545 million would be dedicated to Indian health care and $325 million would be set aside for public safety and justice on reservations. Another $327 million would be used for Indian schools, $486.8 million would go to roads and bridges and about $459 million would be used for reservation water projects.

The Senate package also includes $520 million for Indian housing, $5 million for food distribution in Indian Country, $115 million for facilities improvement and repair, $20 million for workforce training, $20 million for a community development fund and $10 million for an Indian loan guarantee program.

The House is set to vote on its version of the bill today. That version includes amounts similar to the ones in the Senate package. The two chambers will resolve their differences before a final bill is sent to President Barack Obama, who is calling for quick action on the stimulus.

Specifically, the Senate version lays out the following amounts:
INDIAN HEALTH CARE
• Indian Health Facilities – $410 million
• New construction - $135 million
• Maintenance and repairs - $155 million
• Sanitation Facilities - $100 million
• Medical Equipment - $20 million
• Indian Health Services - $135 million
• Contract health care - $50 million
• Health Information Technology activities - $85 million

PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE
• Department of Justice Grants (DOJ) - $300 million
• Indian Jails construction - $250 million
• Tribal courts program - $25 million
• Indian Alcohol Recovery program - $25 million
• BIA Indian Jails repair (Interior) – $25 million

INDIAN SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION
• Tribal and BIA new schools construction - $132 million
• Tribal and BIA schools repair and improvement - $35 million
• BIA School Modernization (Dept. of Education) – $160 million

TRIBAL ROADS AND BRIDGES
• BIA roads improvement - $150 million
• Indian Reservation Roads (DOT) – $320 million
• Tribal Transit Set-Aside (DOT) – $16.8 million

INDIAN WATER PROJECTS
• Bureau of Reclamation Tribal Water Projects – $274 million (approximate)
• BIA irrigation construction and repair - $40 million
• BIA dams improvement - $25 million
• Safe Drinking and Clean Water Revolving Funds – $120 million (the language “permits” the Secretary to fund the tribal set-aside under these revolving funds)

INDIAN HOUSING
• Indian Housing block grants (HUD) – $510 million
• BIA Housing Improvement Program – $20 million

OTHER
• Indian Reservation Food Distribution (USDA) – $5 million
• BIA major facilities improvement and repair – $115 million
• BIA workforce training – $20 million
• Tribal Community Development Financial Institutions (Treasury) – $20 million
• Indian Loan Guarantee Program (Interior) – $10 million

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
House Version [latest version] | Summary of House Version | H.R.1 | S.1

Relevant Documents:
Press Release: Senate Appropriations Committee | Press Release: Senate Indian Affairs Committee | Press Release: House Appropriations Committee

Related Stories:
Jodi Rave: Senate bill includes $2.8B for tribes (1/28)

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