House to resume consideration of Interior appropriations measure

The Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota is in need of replacement. Photo from NMAI

Debate will resume this afternoon on H.R.2822, a controversial funding bill that President Barack Obama is threatening to veto.

The bill provides $2.8 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and $4.8 billion for the Indian Health Service. The amounts are higher than current levels but lower than the ones in Obama's fiscal year 2016 budget request.

The bill also prevents the BIA from implementing the Part 83 reforms to the federal recognition process. The final rule was published in the Federal Register last week and becomes effective on July 31.

Additionally, the bill blocks the Bureau of Land Management from enforcing hydraulic fracturing standards on federal and Indian lands. The rule went into effect on June 24 although a federal judge has put a temporary hold on it that's due to expire on July 22.

Due to the lower funding levels and the presence of controversial policy riders, the White House Office of Management and Budget said Obama would veto it, according to a statement of administration policy. The threat hasn't stopped Republicans from moving forward with the appropriations process.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the funding bill at a lengthy markup session on June 16. Overall, it provides $30.17 billion for a wide range of Indian, environmental and related programs.

H.R.2822 "fulfills our commitment to the needs of Indian Country," Rep. Ken Calvert (R-California), the chairman of the Interior appropriations subcommittee, said in a press release.

The House plans to debate amendments to the bill this afternoon, according to the Majority leader's schedule. Work is expected to conclude later this week.

Consideration of the H.R.2822 marks the first time in six years that lawmakers have considered a funding bill for the Interior Department and related agencies.

House Appropriations Committee Documents:
Press Release | Summary of H.R.2822 | Text of H.R.2822 as Introduced | Report Accompanying H.R.2822

Federal Register Notices:
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (July 1, 2015)
Requests for Administrative Acknowledgment of Federal Indian Tribes (July 1, 2015)

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White House threatens veto of funding bill for Indian programs (6/24)
House appropriations bill blocks fracking rule in Indian Country (06/17)
White House questions 'misplaced priorities' in appropriations bill (06/16)
Appropriations measure blocks BIA's federal recognition reforms (06/16)
Appropriations report sounds alarm about land-into-trust agenda (06/15)

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