Spending Package Clears House and Senate

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(Washington, DC)—Today, the House and Senate cleared the fiscal year 2011 spending compromise. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. The fiscal 2011 spending bill (HR 1473) would provide $1.055 trillion in discretionary funding, $39.9 billion less than in fiscal year 2010—the largest annual reduction in U.S. history. The total includes $12 billion in cuts already agreed to in three other continuing resolutions (PL 112-4, PL 112-6, PL 112-8). 

The Senate rejected two House backed resolutions on cutting abortion and health care spending, sending the bill to the president without the policy provisions.

Several provisions within H.R. 1473 will impact the Navajo Nation including Navajo Technical College.  The bill will not specifically defund Navajo Technical College but leaves it to the discretion of the Obama Administration to fund within the U.S. Department of Education 2011 budget.  The Navajo Nation strongly supports that the Obama administration fund the Navajo Technical College.

The previous 2010 budget provided for $624 million for construction for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The spending measure provides for $210 million that is a $414 million reduction.  The BIA Land & Water Claim Settlement saw a slight reduction of $2 million. The BIA Office of Special Trustee, a branch charged with administering the Cobell Settlement and dealing with trust assets will be reduced by $24 million from $186 million in 2010 to $161 million in 2011.

Indian Health Service (IHS) Facilities budget line item demonstrates a slight $10 million increase from 2010 but is $53 million below President Obama’s 2012 budget request of $457 million. The Navajo Nation has over a billion-dollar hospital facility backlog that comes from this funding source. Any reduction will delay the fulfillment of this facility backlog.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will receive $400 million less than 2010. LIHEAP provides home energy assistance to low-income households. States and Tribes receive block grants to fund these energy needs.

Funding for Native American Housing Block Grants was reduced $50 million dollars from 2010 ($700 million to 2010). The Navajo Housing Authority is funded through formula funding for the Native American Housing Block Grants and will most likely receive less money.

The Federal WIC budget was reduced $500 million dollars. WIC is a food and nutrition program for low-income women with children who have a nutritional risk.  States and Tribes are eligible to operate the programs. These budget cuts have the potential to impact Navajo women who participate in the program.

The EPA budget was reduced by 1.6 billion dollars, which is a 16 percent cut from 2010 levels.  Almost one billion of the cuts would apply to the clean water state and drinking water revolving loan funds. These programs help fund local water infrastructure improvements.  States and Tribes are eligible for these programs.

Consideration for fiscal year 2012 budget resolutions will begin Friday. The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President is urging the federal government to hold harmless any potential appropriation cuts for 2012 to Native American Tribes, specifically the Navajo Nation. Holding Tribes harmless from final budget cuts will continue supportive efforts in Indian Country that honors the trust responsibility to Native Tribes and promotes continued economic development and job creation. 

In this effort, the Navajo Nation President will continue to urge House and Senate leaders and White House officials to hold the Tribes harmless from potential budget cuts for FY 2012.

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Contact:
Navajo Nation Washington Office
Tel 202.682.9391
Fax 202.682.7391
www.nnwo.org
info@nnwo.org

 

Subtitle: 
President Obama Expected to Sign Bill into Law
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