Jodi Rave: Indian stimulus projects called 'pigout'

"Nearly $3 billion slated for tribal infrastructure remains in the massive economic recovery package, even as a leading conservative criticized American Indian inclusion in the bill as the greatest “pigout” of all.

U.S. Senate lawmakers are being asked to trim the $827 billion stimulus plan intended to revive the nation's economy. Tribal provisions in the bill make up a fraction of 1 percent of the projected cost; the money would be directed to Indian communities where double-digit unemployment rates are the norm.

Late last week, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan criticized the jobs bill as the “pigout of pigouts,” pointing out the tribal provisions as a prime example of what was wrong with the spending bill. “It's $1,000 for every Indian in America, including all of those who aren't on reservations. It's ridiculous,” he said.

Buchanan was a guest on “The McLaughlin Group” talk show last Thursday.

On Monday, the comments drew fire from the offices of key senators and Indian activists.

“I saw the clip on the ‘McLaughlin' show and I don't think they knew what they were talking about,” said Barry Piatt, a spokesman for Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. “You have Pat Buchanan saying, ‘This is $1,000 for every Native American.' That's an almost irrelevant point because the money is not going to Native Americans. It's going to a lot of things that help Native Americans. It's money that will improve their roads and bridges and put them to work. Buchanan made it sound like they were handing out $1,000 checks.”"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Lawmakers, activists defend tribes' inclusion (The Missoulian 2/10)

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