indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Falmouth Institute - December in Las Vegas
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Norton says trust forced 'tough choices' in budget
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2003

Cuts in the Bush administration's new budget can be attributed to historic funding for Indian trust operations, Secretary of Interior Gale Norton said on Tuesday.

Testifying before a Senate panel, Norton said the Department of Interior's fiscal year 2004 request of $10.7 billion was a record high. But in response to questions from Democrats, she repeatedly blamed cuts in programs -- including those to tribal colleges -- on the trust debacle.

"For many of our programs, we had to weigh things against the Indian trust allocation because that was our highest priority," Norton told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "We had to look closely at other programs."

According to Norton, the department's $481 million request, a $168 million increase over money currently tied up in a Congressional spat over the 2003 budget, will help the government meet its obligations to American Indians. She referred to $130 million for an historical accounting owed to individual beneficiaries as a "major down payment" but didn't mention the limits she has imposed nor legal arguments she is advancing that would cut off the initiative despite earlier pledges to go back as far as 1938.

"This money should eventually resolve the dispute over the management of trust funds over time and whether the department's books are off by billions of dollars or the much smaller amount we expect," she asserted.

No members of the committee said the trust operation budget wasn't needed. But they questioned why conservation programs, rural water projects and post-secondary Indian education didn't seem important enough to fund.

"This budget is really reckless in its presentation," charged Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) during a testy spat with Norton.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) focused on a $3 million cut to the United Tribes Technical College, an off-reservation institution that serves tribes in North Dakota. The administration for two years now has zeroed out the college's account. For 2003, Dorgan restored the money.

"As I look at a broader context of critical choices and judgments, the choices include exempting dividends from taxation and closing an Indian college," he said, referring to plans to give an $80,000 tax cut to wealthy Americans. "Somehow it doesn't all match to me."

Norton in her response cited the cut as one of the "tough choices" made in light of the trust. "I am very supportive of Indian education," she said. "Our approach has been to focus more of our resources on the elementary and secondary schools."

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) lavished praised on Norton for her efforts. He also challenged the department to include more funds for K-12 Indian schools.

"Indian tribes have no other resources to build their schools or for funds except for the federal government," he said. "It's our responsibility. They have no taxes, they can't raise the mill levy, they can't do anything."

Norton's appearance yesterday was her first on the fiscal year 2004 budget. She is expected to go before Senate appropriators in the coming months while other members of the Interior will appear in the House.

Relevant Documents:
BIA Budget | Departmental Offices [for OST] | Trust Budget Overview | DOI Budget [from OMB]

Department of Interior Fiscal Year 2004 Request:
Budget in Brief (DOI February 2003)

Related Stories:
Budget not kind to Indian Country (2/10)
Trust programs see historic increase (2/4)
Bush budget cuts funds at tribal college (2/4)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Indian children exploited for fundraisers (11/28)
Ned Blackhawk: Remember the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 (11/28)
Steven Newcomb: Leadership and the liberation of our nations (11/28)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Native Hawaiians working for sovereignty (11/28)
Hechinger Report: Tribal colleges see lower graduation rates (11/28)
Native women ask city in New York to find new name for park (11/28)
African-American lawmakers seek probe into Pamunkey Tribe (11/28)
Colorado River Indian Tribes report armed robbery at casino (11/28)
Wyandotte Nation to debut part of $30M expansion at casino (11/28)
Mashantucket Tribe seeks to expand sale of alcohol at casino (11/28)
Mohegan Tribe still pushing for commercial casino in New York (11/28)
Native Sun News: Urban Indian organization seeks new center (11/26)
Tentative schedule for White House Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
White House invites youth to DC for Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
Leslie Wheelock: Touting nation-to-nation trading and tourism (11/26)
Kevin Abourezk: A mystery of Indian agents with same name (11/26)
Michael Allen: My ancestor took part in Sand Creek Massacre (11/26)
Dean Suagee: EPA's Clean Power Plan affects Indian Country (11/26)
Mark Rogers: Finding something to be thankful for this holiday (11/26)
Former convicted leader of Crow Tribe seeks to clear his name (11/26)
Blackfeet Nation denies political motive in arrest of ex-leader (11/26)
Appeal set in dispute over Navajo Nation presidential hopeful (11/26)
Judge allows NFL team lawsuit against young Native activists (11/26)
NPR: Alaska Natives put traditional spin on Thanksgiving meal (11/26)
Column: Group helps rescue dogs from Pine Ridge Reservation (11/26)
First Nation offers reward for information about missing man (11/26)
First Nations face loss of funds over failure to submit salaries (11/26)
Santa Ysabel Band responds to state lawsuit over online bingo (11/26)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation to meet over liquor sales at casino (11/26)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe could lose casino's liquor license (11/26)
Mashantucket Tribe looks to shift revenues away from gaming (11/26)
Agua Caliente Band selects planner to revamp land near casino (11/26)
Washington gaming panel cuts jobs as non-Indian revenue falls (11/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe to issue IDs at tournament (11/25)
James Giago Davies: Polygamy and shunning in Lakota culture (11/25)
Ben Shelly: There's a lot to be thankful for on the Navajo Nation (11/25)
Cara Cowan Watts: Share the blessings of the Cherokee Nation (11/25)
Joe Sexton: BIA's 'ugly' land policies stuck in the 19th century (11/25)
Jenny Durkan: Cop who killed Native man wasn't charged either (11/25)
Oklahoma claims Citizen Potawatomi Nation must collect taxes (11/25)
Divided court won't extend Seneca Nation immunity to business (11/25)
Vice: North Dakota tribe sees $25M a month in energy royalties (11/25)
Members of Lumbee Tribe proud to carry on tradition of service (11/25)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe donates $10K to local food pantry (11/25)
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.