John Tahsuda serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the Trump administration. "We wish everyone to have a safe trip home and we look forward to continuing our work with Tribal Leaders on important issues," a post on Twitter read after Tahsuda attended the mid-year conference of the National Congress of American Indians in June 2018. Photo: Office of Public Affairs - Indian Affairs

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs sets another hearing on 'high risk' programs

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is once again taking a look at "high risk" programs that serve tribes and their citizens.

Just as President Donald Trump was about to take office in January 2017, the Government Accountability Office placed Indian education, health and energy on its list of vulnerable programs. Since then, the committee has held two hearings on the subject to determine if the administration is making progress in addressing shortcomings.

The answers so far have been mixed. The Indian Health Service, for example, waited until the same week as the second hearing to announce it was taking action to reduce patient wait times.

"It appears progress can only be made when Congress keeps the pressure on," Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said last September.

Udall's committee is putting the pressure on the IHS, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for a third time this week. oversight hearing on Wednesday focuses on "turning around vulnerable" programs at the two agencies.

“These high-risk programs put the health and safety of Native Americans at risk,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), the chairman of the panel.

The hearing takes place immediately following a a business meeting at 2:30pm Eastern in Room 628 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. A witness list has not yet been posted online.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Oversight Hearing on "GAO High Risk List: Turning Around Vulnerable Indian Programs" (June 13, 2018)

Government Accountability Office Report:
Improving Federal Management of Programs that Serve Tribes and Their Members (February 15, 2017)

Hearings on "High Risk" Indian Programs

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