Home > News > More Headlines > Norton says trust forced 'tough choices' in budget
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

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

First Lady Michelle Obama shares story of hope with Indian school (5/26)
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Santa Fe Indian School (5/26)
Gary Davis of NCAIED joins Small Business Administration council (5/26)
Arne Vainio: A mother's gift carried me through many life journeys (5/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (5/26)
Lakota Country Times: Education Secretary hears from Pine Ridge (5/26)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (5/26)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (5/26)
Gyasi Ross: Drug epidemic sweeping through Native communities (5/26)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (5/26)
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (5/26)
Auction house in France won't stop sale of sacred tribal property (5/26)
United Keetoowah Band installs new leader after impeachment (5/26)
Kewa Pueblo builds new community around historic trading post (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee elder translates 'Charlotte's Web' into Tsalagi (5/26)
Puyallup Tribe works to keep language alive for new generations (5/26)
Iowa Tribe offers free play on poker website ahead of full launch (5/26)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gaming options closer to home (5/26)
Kaw Nation receives national award for tribal gaming initiatives (5/26)
Indian Health Service reform efforts gaining steam on Capitol Hill (5/25)
Indian Health Service announces more hires at troubled hospital (5/25)
Keepseagle attorneys open application process for $38M in grants (5/25)
Three tribes enter cooperative agreements for buy-back program (5/25)
New leader selected for HUD's Office of Native American Programs (5/25)
Indian relay racers gear up for event hosted by Muckleshoot Tribe (5/25)
Cronkite News: Tribes seek return of property up for sale in France (5/25)
Native Sun News: Anti-suicide effort incorporates tribal traditions (5/25)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth showcase film projects (5/25)
Mark Trahant: Native vote victory for Tawna Sanchez in Oregon (5/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Lakota people come together in times of need (5/25)
Editorial: Tribes must come up with plan for return of Black Hills (5/25)
John McCoy: Disenrollment and blood quantum are not our way (5/25)
Adrian Jawort: Addressing race relations and healing in Montana (5/25)
Fort Peck Tribes oppose new directive on transgender students (5/25)
Leader of United Keetoowah Band ousted through impeachment (5/25)
Agua Caliente Band launches software development company (5/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair platform committee for GOP convention (5/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes discussions with opponent over casino (5/25)
Little Traverse Bay Bands open doors to Class II gaming facility (5/25)
Tuolumne Band celebrates 15th birthday with casino expansion (5/25)
Former Winnebago Tribe casino employee denies theft charge (5/25)
Proposed rule brings LGBT equality to tribal housing programs (5/24)
Chairman of Quapaw Tribe endorses Democrat Hillary Clinton (5/24)
Appropriations bill blocks new federal recognition regulation (5/24)
Native American Children's Safety Act clears final Hill hurdle (5/24)
9th Circuit won't rehear Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (5/24)
Lakota Country Times: Army promises return of tribal children (5/24)
Native Sun News: New business sprouts up at Wounded Knee (5/24)
Mark Trahant: Tulalip citizen lands role in Democratic platform (5/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Pine Ridge unites for search of missing men (5/24)
Men who went missing found dead on Pine Ridge Reservation (5/24)
Billy Mills: Flawed poll can't justify use of team's racist mascot (5/24)
more headlines...

Advertisement

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.