your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
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could have been better used to fund health and education programs in Indian Country or directed towards reforming the outdated trust systems in the department," the House Appropriations Committee wrote in a bill passed in 2003.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:
Twenty-Nine Palms Band disputes 'Trump, You're Fired' story (10/21)
Native Sun News Today: Ping-pong continues in #NoDAPL case (10/21)
Lakota Country Times: 'Reel Jobs' school nurtures Lakota talent (10/21)
James Giago Davies: Drugs and crime overrun our reservations (10/21)
Dana Lone Hill: Becoming a grandmother is life's highest honor (10/21)
Misty Perkins: Indigenous voices are lost in colonial translation (10/21)
Alaska tribes enter new era with first land-into-trust application (10/20)
Native leaders in Alaska endorse Hillary Clinton in historic move (10/20)
Bureau of Indian Affairs finishes update to model juvenile code (10/20)
Utah group aims to elevate Native issues in an unusual election (10/20)
Chemehuevi Tribe secures approval of HEARTH Act regulations (10/20)
Poarch Band of Creek Indians can't be sued for firing employee (10/20)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala veteran shot and killed by police (10/20)
Lakota Country Times: Founders of annual Spiritual Run honored (10/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Education system diminishes our people (10/20)
Brandon Ecoffey: It's business as usual for South Dakota's GOP (10/20)
Morgan Rodman: Federal agencies work to protect treaty rights (10/20)
Mary Annette Pember: First baby born at water protector camp (10/20)
Duane Yazzie: Spirituality prevails as #NoDAPL fight continues (10/20)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opens reservation to #NoDAPL camp (10/20)
Haskell University confirms president is still under investigation (10/20)
Agua Caliente Band back in federal court to defend water rights (10/20)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe removes members amid per cap woes (10/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation moves forward with $33M expansion at casino (10/20)
Cowlitz Tribe announces more executives for fast-rising casino (10/20)
Wilton Rancheria continues to make progress on casino project (10/20)
Agency shifts course as ancient remains slated for repatriation (10/19)
Navajo Nation opposes bill that reduces share of trust revenues (10/19)
Doug George-Kanentiio: A voice for residential school survivors (10/19)
Native Sun News Today: LNI hosts girls volleyball tournament (10/19)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe voters send message (10/19)
Editorial: Republicans in South Dakota embrace Monster Trump (10/19)
Vi Waln: Water protector camps overflow with spiritual energy (10/19)
Mary Annette Pember: Teaching a new generation of protectors (10/19)
Harold Monteau: Don't shoot messenger for tribal sovereignty (10/19)
Bureau of Indian Affairs looks into 'sacred' items kept in boxes (10/19)
Ute Tribe goes to war against 'modern day Indian land grab' bill (10/19)
White House task force to address treaty issues in Washington (10/19)
Pojoaque Pueblo showcases historic pottery at cultural center (10/19)
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.