FROM THE ARCHIVE

Aide: Daschle not told about reprogramming

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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2002

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) wasn't informed about the Department of Interior's reprogramming request until last night, an aide said today.

Jake Maas, a spokesperson for Daschle, said the Bush administration did a poor job of informing Indian Country and Congressional leaders. "[Daschle] was disappointed with the way the administration unveiled this proposal," he said.

According to Maas, Daschle agrees with criticism that the proposed reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs was just a "bunch of boxes." Tribal leaders this week also complained that plan failed to reflect their input.

Despite Daschle's sentiments, the Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittee already authorized the department's request to use $5 million to implement the reorganization. A letter was sent to Secretary Gale Norton on December 18.

But Maas said Daschle was investigating whether the Senate approval could be revoked. "It appears there might be some aspects of this proposal that might require further Congressional approval," he said.

In a press call yesterday, Norton said the department was pleased with the Congressional approval. However, she said the changes won't take place "overnight."

"This is a process that will take some time," she said. "It will take time for us to move into this organization."

Relevant Documents:
House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Letter (December 10, 2002) | Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Letter (December 18, 2002)

Today on Indianz.Com;
DOI kept approval from tribes (12/20)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm
Trust Reform, NCAI - http://www.ncai.org/main/pages/
issues/other_issues/trust_reform.asp

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