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Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold hearing on tribal budget

Students at Santa Fe Indian School, a Bureau of Indian Education institution in New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is holding a hearing on Wednesday to focus on the fiscal year 2017 budget request for tribal programs.

Witnesses include top officials from the the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Service, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice.

Aaron Payment, the secretary of the National Congress of American Indians and the chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, will provide a tribal view.

The hearing comes after Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the chairman of the committee, expressed strong support for funding increases to programs that enhance self-determination, economic development, education, health care, housing and public safety.

"The U.S. Constitution recognizes that the United States and tribes have a special relationship, described by many as a trust responsibility between the trustee and the beneficiary," Barrasso wrote in a letter to the Senate Budget Committee. "This trust responsibility stems from tribes ceding hundreds of millions of acres of their homelands to the United States in exchange for promises to maintain public safety, protect tribal sovereignty, and provide a variety ofprograms and services to Indian people, including education, housing and health care."

The hearing takes place at 2:15pm in Room 628 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building The witness list follows:
The Honorable Karol Mason
Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Lawrence S. Roberts
Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Office of Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Lourdes M. Castro Ramirez
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Public & Indian Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Mary Smith
Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD

The Honorable Aaron Payment
Secretary, National Congress of American Indians, Washington, D.C.

Committee Notice:
Oversight Hearing "The President's FY2017 Indian Country Budget" (March 9, 2016)

FY2017 Budget Documents:
Budget in Brief | Strengthening Tribal Nations and Insular Communities | Indian Affairs | Departmental Offices [Includes OST] | Bureau of Reclamation | DOI Fact Sheet

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