indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Trust reform costs put at $3B, thanks to Bush
Monday, June 13, 2005

The federal government has spent nearly $3 billion over the past decade to fix the broken Indian trust, according to an appropriations bill introduced on Friday.

The figure is significantly higher than the amount confirmed by Congress just three years ago. In an appropriations bill passed in 2002, members of the House said they provided more than $614 million to fund trust reform efforts at the Interior Department.

The following year, the amount was beefed up to more than $700 million. "These funds could have been better used to fund health and education programs in Indian Country or directed towards reforming the outdated trust systems in the department," the House Appropriations Committee wrote in a bill passed in 2003.

But thanks to the Bush administration, the costs of trust reform have exploded dramatically. With hundreds of millions going into historical accounting and other activities, the Senate Appropriations Committee came up with a new figure last week.

"Over the past decade, nearly $3,000,000,000 has been invested in management, reform, and improvement of Indian trust programs," the committee wrote in a report accompanying the Interior Department fiscal year 2006 bill. The Senate's version of the bill was introduced on Friday.

The increase is due to the administration's decision to beef up the Office of Special Trustee. Since President Bush took over the White House, its budget has grown from to $109 million in 2001 to a proposed $270 million in 2006, a whopping 147.7 percent increase.

Meanwhile, the White House has not sought significant increases for the Bureau of Indian Affairs since 2001. This year, in fact, a decrease of nearly $110 million was proposed.

The trend has not gone by without some objection. Tribal leaders point out that OST was designed, by law, to oversee but not implement trust reform. That has changed now that OST is in charge of probate, accounting, realty and a host of other projects.

"In the BIA budget, the costs of OST-BIA reorganization are effectively punishing tribes for the department's own trust mismanagement -- a double injury to individual and tribal trustees hurt by this mismanagement," National Congress of American Indians President Tex Hall said in recent testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Key lawmakers agree with the assessment. "It is lamentable that the funding for an [historical] accounting appears to have come directly from programs that affect the daily lives of Indians," said Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the chairman of the committee.

Lawmakers have reacted by trimming OST's budget. Both the House and the Senate cut the agency to $192 million instead of the $270 million sought by the White House.

The House and Senate also restored many of the cuts to the BIA programs. There are differences, however, which will have to be reconciled by a joint conference committee once the Senate passes its version of the bill. The House passed the budget by a vote of 329-89 on May 19.

The full text of the relevant portion of the Senate report is as follows:
Over the past decade, nearly $3,000,000,000 has been invested in management, reform, and improvement of Indian trust programs. Ongoing reforms and expenditures are highly dependent on court activity related to the ongoing Cobell v. Norton case and negotiations between the Department of the Interior, tribal governments, the plaintiffs and the courts.

Interior Appropriations:
H.R.2361 | H.Rept.109-80 | S.Report.109-80

FY 2006 Funding Levels:
Subcommittee Reports FY06 Interior Appropriations Bill (May 4, 2005) | Appropriations Subcommittee Reports FY 2006 Interior Spending Bill (June 7, 2005)

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Letter:
FY 2006 Views and Estimates (February 28, 2005)

Budget Documents:
DOI Budget in Brief | Trust Responsibilities | Tribal Communities | Bureau of Indian Affairs | Departmental Offices [includes Office of Special Trustee] | DOI [from White House]

Related Stories:
Bill restores Bush budget cuts to Indian programs (6/9)
Bill calls for tribal consultation on BIA budget (05/31)
House panel acts to restore Bush budget cuts (05/05)
Panel rejects President Bush's budget priorities (3/8)
Senator angles for better 'defense' on Bush budget (02/24)
Senators blast budget cuts to Indian programs (2/17)
BIA budget cut by $110M for fiscal year 2006 (2/8)
On trust, lawmakers take Bush officials at face value (6/25)
Norton offered settlement funds for IIM trust (6/20)
Bush administration turns to Congress on trust (04/04)
Appropriators question historical accounting plan (03/13)
Spending bill keeps provisions affecting Cobell (02/14)
Funding battle underlies trust obligations (7/19)
House bill cuts trust fund accounting (6/28)
Interior rebuffed on historical accounting (4/24)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
President of Alaska Native village highlights threat to community (9/3)
President Barack Obama offers thoughts on historic trip to Alaska (9/3)
President Obama enjoys unique welcome in Alaska Native village (9/3)
Transcript: President Obama speaks in Native village of Kotzebue (9/3)
Democrats slam GOP candidate for comments about assimilation (9/3)
Poarch Creeks secure major ruling in gaming dispute in Alabama (9/3)
Native Sun News: City faces possible suit from Lakota 57 parents (9/3)
Lakota Country Times: Sinte Gleska University to expand campus (9/3)
Tim Giago: Republicans show hypocrisy on the 14th Amendment (9/3)
Ivan Star: 'English education' obliterated culture and language (9/3)
Gyasi Ross: Obama's checkered record on Native environment (9/3)
Opinion: Indian Child Welfare Act doesn't help Indian children (9/3)
Appeal planned in Grand Ronde Tribes disenrollment dispute (9/3)
Blackfeet Nation states opposition to drilling on sacred land (9/3)
Father of Native woman who died in jail cell considers lawsuit (9/3)
Oglala Sioux Tribe set to open $16.5M nursing home next year (9/3)
Donald Trump's campaign manager linked to Abramoff scandal (9/3)
Navajo Nation plans big development next to casino in Arizona (9/3)
Graton Rancheria breaks ground on $175M expansion at casino (9/3)
United Auburn Indian Community compact gains quick approval (9/3)
New Mexico tribes weren't involved in off-reservation casino bid (9/3)
Parents of Lakota 57 respond to not guilty verdict in Rapid City (9/2)
Grand Ronde Tribes to disenroll 86 descendants of treaty signer (9/2)
Lakota Country Times: New food bank on Pine Ridge Reservation (9/2)
Mark Trahant: FCC invents new law for tribal lands in Oklahoma (9/2)
Native Sun News Editorial: Republican attacks on Hillary Clinton (9/2)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux Tribe needs to establish 'virtual' school (9/2)
Steven Newcomb: The religious basis of Doctrine of Discovery (9/2)
Frank Bibeau: Ojibwe people assert treaty rights in Minnesota (9/2)
Carly McIntosh: Feeling love from elders at naming ceremony (9/2)
Winnebago Tribe reports results of primary election for council (9/2)
President Obama set for visit to Native communities in Alaska (9/2)
Alaska Native students being left behind in their own backyard (9/2)
Opinion: Alaska will lose appeal in BIA land-into-trust lawsuit (9/2)
Native children being removed at alarming rates in Manitoba (9/2)
Crow Tribe opens apartment complex for homeless veterans (9/2)
Mississippi Choctaw leader faces challenge in election drama (9/2)
Mohegan Tribe elects incumbents and newcomer for council (9/2)
Donald Trump wanted a casino with Seminole Tribe in Florida (9/2)
New Mexico tribes proposed casino in downtown Albuquerque (9/2)
Construction worker dies at site of Jamul Indian Village casino (9/2)
Lakota Country Times: Not guilty verdict after Lakota 57 trial (9/1)
President Obama meets Native leaders after landing in Alaska (9/1)
Rhonda Pitka: Alaska Natives put priority on subsistence rights (9/1)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.