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Opinion
Sen. Burns: Support for Montana tribes is known


"Let's get that record straight right now. In just the past two fiscal years, I have secured over $25 million in direct funding for the tribes, and tribally related projects in Montana. That doesn't include the increased funding to BIA programs that also have a direct impact on our seven reservations, including school replacement programs. Since taking over as chairman of Interior Appropriations, I have increased the tribal construction funding from $169 million in 2000 to over $320 million in 2005 to address the backlog of school replacement projects. With that funding, the Blackfeet and Northern Cheyenne tribes will have new schools completed by 2007.

In addition, I have been and continue to be a staunch supporter of tribal colleges. We have increased funding significantly over the past years, going from $38 million in 2000 to nearly $53 million in 2005. I have also been troubled by the "wealthy" tribe versus "poor" tribe argument set forth by my Democrat detractors. The federal government has a responsibility to uphold the tribal compacts, regardless of the financial means of the tribe. Bottom line is, we made a deal with the tribes, and we need to honor it.

Get the Story:
Sen. Conrad Burns: Accusations start negative campaign season (The Billings Gazette 4/17)

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