indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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:
Native Sun News: Mine proposed near sacred site in Black Hills (3/3)
Native youth send video message to Obama on Keystone XL (3/3)
Lummi Nation leader moves ahead with tribal cannabis group (3/3)
BIA to award another $8M in Tribal Climate Resilience grants (3/3)
DOI to host listening session on buy-back program in Arizona (3/3)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on IRRIGATE Act (3/3)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation improves notification system (3/3)
Patty Talahongva: Native youth become Champions for Change (3/3)
Mary Pember: Bad River Band wins as massive mine put on hold (3/3)
Albert Bender: A travesty of justice in attack on Indian children (3/3)
Vince Two Eagles: Native Americans are citizens in our nations (3/3)
Column: Navajo Nation takes basketball obsession to new level (3/3)
Dozens of Native languages down to limited number of speakers (3/3)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe seeks information about drug overdose (3/3)
Man from Omaha Tribe sentenced as habitual domestic offender (3/3)
Man from Oglala Sioux Tribe charged for abusing infant daughter (3/3)
Village sues DOI over Oneida Nation land-into-trust documents (3/3)
Editorial: Navajo Nation set to choose new president on April 21 (3/3)
Yerington Paiute Tribe reports another incident at youth facility (3/3)
Mohegan Tribe names one of its own to head gaming enterprise (3/3)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and state in court over casino plan (3/3)
Muscogee Nation set for big job far as part of casino expansion (3/3)
Seminole Tribe touts compact as lawmakers take up expansion (3/3)
Lawmakers in Nebraska table bill affecting expansion of gaming (3/3)
Just Joking: Humor from National Congress of American Indians (3/2)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne family celebrates history (3/2)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Native snipers among world's deadliest (3/2)
Omaha Tribe welcomes denial of rehearing in boundary lawsuit (3/2)
Supreme Court won't hear Stockbridge-Munsee Band land claim (3/2)
Indian tobacco company rebuffed in another dispute with state (3/2)
Jodi Gillette: Administration making progress in Indian Country (3/2)
Kevin Abourezk: Leaders of Winnebago Tribe face recall attempt (3/2)
Aaron Schutt: Alaska Native role in FCC's auction benefits public (3/2)
Steven Newcomb: NMAI should help expose Indian law's bigotry (3/2)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Native sovereignty in a race-based society (3/2)
David Wilkins: Tap into the knowledge and power of our nations (3/2)
Opinion: Native women won't feel safe without action in Canada (3/2)
Indian families in South Dakota battle to keep children at home (3/2)
Marijuana presented as another opportunity for Indian Country (3/2)
Lac Vieux Desert Band relies on revenue from lending business (3/2)
Leader of Kiowa Tribe challenges BIA's intervention in election (3/2)
Cherokee Nation mourns loss of respected journalist John Shurr (3/2)
Pechanga Band to reclaim ancestors and artifacts from military (3/2)
Travel: Ancient culture continues on Hopi Reservation in Arizona (3/2)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe banishes two women after drug arrest (3/2)
Joseph Webster: Tribes assert sovereignty over Class II gaming (3/2)
Tohono O'odham Nation spends $200M on first phase of casino (3/2)
New Mexico lawmakers advance new Class III gaming compact (3/2)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe in court for gaming compact in New Mexico (3/2)
MGM on track to complete $1.2B casino near US Capitol next year (3/2)
Wrapup from National Congress of American Indians DC meeting (2/27)
Native Sun News: Rapid City leader calls for tax on alcohol sales (2/27)
Mark Trahant: Beautiful trend emerges with power of Native vote (2/27)
Ivan Star: Lakota traditional history tells the true untold stories (2/27)
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.