House subcommittee takes testimony on Indian Country budget

The Keams Canyon Hospital in Arizona. Photo from Indian Health Service

The House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs holds a hearing on Tuesday to discuss the fiscal year 2017 budget request for Indian Country and Insular areas.

Officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians and the Indian Health Service will discuss their priorities amid concerns from some lawmakers that the budget invests in programs that may not be seeing results.

Additionally, the panel is concerned that the BIA has not made "any substantial change" to its trust management programs despite paying out "more than $6 billion to individual Indians and dozens of tribes to settle lawsuits alleging federal mismanagement of accounts and trust resources," according to the hearing memo.

The BIA budget request is $2.93 billion, an increase of $137.6 million from from current levels. The IHS request is $6.6 billion, an increase of of $377.4 million.

The OST remains steady at about $140.4 million. The agency is the target of H.R.812, the Indian Trust Asset Reform Act, a bill that paves the way for the transition of duties from the OST back to the BIA.

The hearing takes place at 11am in Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building. The witness list follows:
Mr. Lawrence Roberts
Acting Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs
U.S. Department of the Interior

The Honorable Esther Kia'aina
Assistant Secretary—Insular Areas
U.S. Department of the Interior

The Honorable Vincent G. Logan
Special Trustee
Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians
U.S. Department of the Interior

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

Committee Notice:
The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Funding Priorities and Impacts on Indian Country and Insular Areas (March 22, 2016)

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