National | Politics

Interior Secretary Jewell makes rounds on Capitol Hill for budget





Interior Secretary Sally Jewell testified twice on Capitol Hill this week to discuss the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the Interior Department.

First was an appearance before the the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. She didn't spend much time on Indian issues and members of the Interior subcommittee didn't have many questions on the matter either.

Audio from the hearing can be found on the Indianz.Com Sound Cloud.

Earlier today, Jewell testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee. A controversial road for an Alaska Native village was brought up several times, primarily by Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who delivered a passionate opening statement about the need for the project

"I need you to carry the message to this administration that this road is non-negotiable," Murkowski told Jewell. "The health and safety of the people of King Cove is non-negotiable."

In December, Jewell rejected the road due to concerns about the impact on the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. She has offered to help the village consider alternatives but Murkowski pointed out that the Obama administration hasn't come up with anything in the last three months.

Jewell also took questions on Indian school construction and contract support costs in self-determination contracts during the hearing. Audio can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud:

The budget focus continues this afternoon with a hearing before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, is testifying.

Next week, Jewell heads back to the Hill for a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, April 3.

Committee Notices:
Budget Hearing - Department of the Interior (March 25, 2014)
Committee schedule for the week of March 24th (March 26, 2014)
Oversight Hearing to receive testimony on "The President's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget for Tribal Programs." (March 26, 2014)
Oversight Hearing on “Department of the Interior, Spending and the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal” (April 3, 2014)

FY2015 Budget Documents:
Strengthening Tribal Nations | Indian Affairs | Standing With Indian Country

Related Stories:
Alaska Native leaders in DC to make case for controversial road (3/25)
Interior Secretary Jewell testifies at Capitol Hill budget hearings (3/24)
Mark Trahant: A Republican Senate means Indian budget cuts (3/18)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules budget hearing (3/17)
Tristan Ahtone: DOI budget includes Navajo settlement funds (3/6)
President Obama eyes $2.4B budget for Bureau of Indian Affairs (3/4)
Indian Health Service receives small increase with new budget (3/4)
New Obama budget includes $139M for Office of Special Trustee (3/4