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Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul targeted BIA and IHS

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). Photo from Facebook

Now that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has announced his 2016 presidential campaign, some of his old words and proposals are coming back to haunt him.

In 2011, shortly after winning election to the Senate with the support of Tea Party activists, Paul introduced a bill to eliminate the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He rightfully condemned the agency for having "swindled and mismanaged billions of dollars in Indian trust funds" but did not say what he would do to carry on the federal government's obligations to tribes and individual Indians.

"Instead of wasting taxpayer funds throwing money into a bureau of corruption and incompetency, eliminate them and allow the tribes to manage their own trust funds independently without government intervention," Paul wrote in a budget proposal that explained his bill.

Tribes can already manage and invest their trust funds under the American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994. But that money is separate from the services and programs that the BIA provides under federal laws, treaties and its general obligations in Indian Country.

Individual Indians, on the other hand, cannot remove their funds from the Interior Department.

In his bill, Paul also proposed to cut the Indian Health Service budget in half. He claimed the agency was "notoriously wrought with fraud," citing a Government Accountability Office report regarding property and equipment mismanagement.

The bill did not get very far and the BIA and the IHS are due to see increases under the fiscal year 2016 budget proposed by President Barack Obama.

Get the Story:
What a Rand Paul Presidency Would Mean for Federal Employees (Government Executive 4/7)

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Sen. Paul proposes to eliminate all funding for BIA, cut IHS in half (02/09)

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