President Obama releases fiscal 2016 budget request

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office
Cell: 202-200-0625
Desk: 202-682-7390

***LEGISLATIVE ALERT***

President Obama releases fiscal 2016 budget request

WASHINGTON–President Obama today unveiled his fiscal 2016 budget request to Congress. A more detailed analysis is forthcoming, but some highlights follow.

With total federal spending at $4.066 trillion, the budget proposes to ‘reverse mindless austerity’ and  ‘fully reverse’ sequestration by complying with 2015 mandated spending caps while increasing domestic spending by $75 billion in fiscal 2016.

Under the plan, the deficit would be kept below 3 percent of GPD. The $474 billion deficit the budget would leave for fiscal 2016 is slightly higher than the $467 billion that would occur with no changes in current laws, but over time reduces the deficit through reforms to health programs, the tax code and immigration.

The budget proposes $13.2 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of the Interior. This includes a 12 percent increase for both the Bureau of Indian Affairs ($2.9 billion) and the Bureau of Indian Education ($904 million). The budget provides $12 million for BIA to work with tribes and other federal agencies to improve data collection in Indian country.

The budget attempts to fully fund contract support costs (CSC), providing $718 million for the Indian Health Service, and $277 million for BIA. The budget calls for a shift in CSC from discretionary to mandatory spending beginning in fiscal 2017. CSC funds under the proposal would be ‘no year’ funds that can carryover into the next fiscal year.

The budget provides a $59 million increase over fiscal 2015 for education construction to improve school infrastructure and facilities, and replace the Little Singer Community and Cove Day schools on the Navajo Nation.

The budget would also provide $34.2 million to improve broadband internet and computer access to all BIE-funded schools; $18 million at HUD and DOI for teacher housing needs; $50 million at HHS for youth focused behavioral health, mental health, and substance abuse services; and $53 million at the U.S. Department of Education to improve the college and career readiness of Native youth. 

For social services, the budget calls for an increase of $191 million increase at HHS to $903 million. The budget includes up to $15 million for HUD for a Jobs-Plus demonstration project in Indian country.

The budget increases IHS funding by $461 million to $5.1 billion.

The budget increases spending for public safety initiatives by $102 million to $419 million through the U.S. Department of Justice and a $12 million increase to $364 million for public safety programs funded by the BIA.

The Native American Housing Block Grant program would receive $660 million, and an additional $80 million would go to the Indian Community Development Block Grant program.

The budget would provide $376 million to the BIA to support tribes in managing resources, and $96 million to the EPA for the Tribal General Assistance Program.

The budget would also fund a new ‘Indian Energy Service Center’ in DOI at $5 million, provide $16 million to the U.S. Department of Energy for the Tribal Energy Program, and provide $11 million for a new Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee program to support small to medium size energy generation projects.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly will provide testimony on the Navajo Nation’s fiscal 2016 budget request before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies later this year.

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