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
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Tribes ask Congress to address contract shortfalls
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The leader of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is sponsoring a bill that seeks to resolve a federal funding dispute that tribes say is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) will hold a hearing this morning on S.2172, the Tribal Contract Support Cost Technical Amendments of 2004. He will take testimony from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service, the two federal agencies responsible for most of the programs available to Indian Country.

But the experience of tribal leaders is what is driving the debate. As tribes take over more and more of the BIA and IHS programs through contracts, they are running into shortfalls that affect their ability to carry out the goals of self-determination.

"If the U.S. has a contractual relationship with anybody out there in the U.S., it honors those contracts," Ron Allen, the chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe of Washington who is one of the witnesses at the hearing, said recently. "Today, the U.S. is not honoring the full contracts that it has with existing tribes."

This year alone, tribes who manage BIA and IHS programs will see a $142 million shortfall, according to estimates from the National Congress of American Indians. Reports from the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, also document the shortfalls.

The issue is significant enough that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether the IHS has to fund the contracts fully. A date for the hearing has not been set.

The dispute is rooted in the landmark Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. Under the law, passed in 1975, tribes can enter into contracts to manage BIA and IHS programs. The law dictates that tribes receive no less than the amount the government would have spent on the programs.

The law also requires the agencies to provide tribes with additional funds, known as contract support costs, needed to carry out the programs. But the BIA and IHS have interpreted this requirement differently than tribes. The agencies say they are limited by what Congress appropriates.

Campbell's bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), is a response to the tribal concerns. The measure would take away the discretion of the IHS or BIA by requiring them to provide enough contract support costs to tribes. Dr. Charles Grim, director of the IHS, and William Sinclair, the director of the Office of Self-Governance and Self-Determination at the BIA, will share their views at the hearing.

Also testifying is Chad Smith, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The tribe is leading the contract support costs case against IHS and won an $8 million ruling last July from a federal appeals court. But this conflicted with another ruling that said the IHS didn't have to pay. The Supreme Court will resolve the dispute.

Lloyd Miller, an attorney representing the Cherokee Nation and other tribes, will testify as well. He has filed a separate class action lawsuit on behalf of Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico seeking to recover damages against IHS for failing to provide contract support costs. The case is on hold pending the Supreme Court's decision.

The hearing takes place at 10 a.m. More information can be found on the committee's web site at http://indian.senate.gov.

Get the Bill:
Tribal Contract Support Cost Technical Amendments of 2004 (S.2172)

Contract Support Cost Litigation:
Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry

Lower Court Decisions:
Fed Circuit: Thompson v. Cherokee Nation (July 3, 2003) | 10th Circuit: Cherokee Nation v. Thompson (November 26, 2002) |

Relevant Documents:
Docket Sheet No. 03-853: Thompson v. Cherokee Nation | Docket Sheet No. 02-1472: Cherokee Nation v. Thompson | Department of Justice Petition No. 03-853 | Department of Justice Supplemental Brief No. 02-1472

Related Decisions:
9th Circuit: Shoshone-Bannock v. Thompson (October 16, 2001) | 9th Circuit: Navajo Nation v. HHS, No. 99-16129 (April 8, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Contract Support Costs, NCAI - http://www.ncai.org/main/pages/issues/
governance/contract_support.asp

Related Stories:
Supreme Court to resolve self-determination dispute (03/23)
Supreme Court weighs self-determination dispute (03/09)
Court rules tribe owed self-determination funds (07/07)
Appeals court turns down Navajo Nation again (04/09)
Court rebuffs tribes on contract funding dispute (11/27)
Navajo Nation challenges contract policy (10/04)

Copyright © 2000-2004 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:
Trump boasts about approvals for Dakota Access and Keystone XL (3/28)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe acknowledges 'setback' in pipeline war (3/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe continues to battle pipeline in court (3/28)
Judge orders removal of gas pipeline on Indian land in Oklahoma (3/28)
Stockbridge-Munsee leader delivers tribal address in Wisconsin (3/28)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Peacemaking in the era of Donald Trump (3/28)
Native Sun News Today: Trump purge fails to affect South Dakota (3/28)
Victor Swallow: When the Air Force bomber crashed at Pine Ridge (3/28)
Charles Kader: Courts close their doors to unrecognized groups (3/28)
Whiteclay liquor licenses under review amid outcry in Nebraska (3/28)
Cowlitz Tribe brings Michael Jordan's Steakhouse to new casino (3/28)
Sycuan Band starts work on $226M expansion of gaming facility (3/28)
Seminole Tribe accuses state of breaking gaming compact again (3/28)
Colville Tribes hail 'historic victory' on aboriginal hunting rights (3/27)
Dakota Access confirms pipeline about to go into service with oil (3/27)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs considers new round of bills (3/27)
Witness list for hearing on diabetes prevention and Native youth (3/27)
Tim Giago: There's a smell of treason in the air in nation's capital (3/27)
Mark Trahant: The fight ahead for the future of Indian health care (3/27)
Bill John Baker: Woman play important roles in Cherokee Nation (3/27)
Brian Lightfoot Brown: One last victory for the Narragansett Tribe (3/27)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe questions loss of funds (3/27)
James Giago Davies: Troubled times are coming to Lakota country (3/27)
Sarah Van Gelder: Huge bank divests from Dakota Access Pipeline (3/27)
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation hails decision on aging power plant (3/27)
Tiffany Midge: There's a happy ending for Standing Rock out there (3/27)
Steven Newcomb: Getting to the true meaning of our sovereignty (3/27)
Steve Russell: Losing our status as 'domestic dependent nations' (3/27)
Mona Evans: Creek Nation fails to support Indian Child Welfare Act (3/27)
Oklahoma Democrats hire LaRenda Morgan as first Native liaison (3/27)
Chukchansi Tribe fires back at gaming firm seeking $21M in court (3/27)
Tribes mount another fight after Trump approves another pipeline (3/24)
Native Sun News Today: Navajo elders continue long fight on land (3/24)
Editorial: Just another day of trying to keep up with the Trumps (3/24)
Elizabeth LaPensée: Video games encourage indigenous culture (3/24)
Mary Annette Pember: Native women work with youth offenders (3/24)
Tiffany Midge: Trump continues to conjure hero Andrew Jackson (3/24)
John Kane: Seneca Nation money train coming to end in New York (3/24)
Grand Ronde Tribes secure approval of school mascot agreement (3/24)
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.