Jodi Rave: Senators seek $2B for Indian Country
"Nearly two dozen U.S. senators are pressing President-elect Barack Obama to include $2 billion in his proposed budget for tribes beleaguered by “a public safety and health crisis” due, in part, to a lack of federal funding.

“We have critical needs here in this country, particularly on Indian reservations,” Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Wednesday. “American Indians usually play second fiddle when it comes to having the federal government meeting its obligations and its promises. That includes water projects, law enforcement, health care and more.”

Twenty-two senators signed and sent a letter to Obama asking him to fill in budget lines providing tribes with $1 billion for water projects, $750 million for public safety and $250 million to improve health care.

Congress already authorized the $2 billion request as part of a $48 billion global AIDS bill passed in July.

“To actually have any money, we need to get it in the administration's budget, which is why we sent the letter to Obama,” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Wednesday. “Getting it into the president's budget is the best way to do it.”

The request targets health care and public safety needs, although the largest budget share would go to improving water projects. In some tribal areas, upward of 35 percent of Native homes lack adequate water supplies."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: U.S. senators seek $2B for tribes (The Missoulian 12/11)

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