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

Study confirms high rate of violence against Native women and men (5/5)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules meeting and hearing (5/5)
Native Sun News: Group aims to bring positive change to Rapid City (5/5)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud Sioux Tribe updates education code (5/5)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates being left behind in big money race (5/5)
Brandon Ecoffey: Governor's comments harken back to painful era (5/5)
Ivan Star Comes Out: White domination in America is under threat (5/5)
Jennifer Denetdale: Navajo Nation panel examines gender violence (5/5)
Leader of Navajo Nation Council criticizes coverage of girl's death (5/5)
Sen. Rounds to seek system-wide review of Indian Health Service (5/5)
Elouise Cobell being considered for Presidential Medal of Freedom (5/5)
Nottawaseppi Huron Band to prosecute non-Indians under VAWA (5/5)
Gathering of Nations must find new venue after end of agreement (5/5)
Brothers awarded $450K for anti-Indian beating at New Mexico bar (5/5)
Eastern Shoshone Tribe pays $1.7M to acquire land on reservation (5/5)
Nambe Pueblo pays off remaining funds owed to gaming developer (5/5)
States with less Indian gaming presence rank higher for addictions (5/5)
Cowlitz Tribe hosts forums on casino construction and related work (5/5)
Editorial: New commercial casino won't hurt St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (5/5)
Navajo Nation reeling after arrest made in 11-year-old girl's death (5/4)
Bureau of Indian Affairs adds names to memorial for fallen officers (5/4)
Bureau of Indian Affairs updates list of federally recognized tribes (5/4)
Bureau of Indian Affairs finalizes rule for burial assistance program (5/4)
National Indian Gaming Commission selects first vice chair in years (5/4)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe assists vets with housing (5/4)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe pushed to hold election (5/4)
Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune: Tribes fight coal mine in Texas (5/4)
Jim Kent: Governor of South Dakota blissfully ignorant about tribes (5/4)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Who made the decision to kill Anna Mae? (5/4)
Suzan Shown Harjo: Delete 'off the reservation' from our discourse (5/4)
Simon Moya-Smith: Donald Trump sees Indian people going 'wild' (5/4)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Native issues are afterthought for candidates (5/4)
Blackfeet Nation to see $107M from Cobell land buy-back program (5/4)
Nooksack Tribe fires judge and loses attorney in enrollment crisis (5/4)
Democrat Bernie Sanders staying in race as last Republicans quit (5/4)
Choctaw Nation offered settlements in fatal casino bus accident (5/4)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community fails to sell governor on casino (5/4)
Shakopee Tribe starts work on casino hotel and convention center (5/4)
Editorial: Work with Cloverdale Rancheria rather than fight casino (5/4)
Lakota Country Times: Governor lectures tribe about sacred lands (5/3)
Native Sun News: Navajo Nation chapter sues tribe over water deal (5/3)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux Reservation plagued by abuse and assault (5/3)
James Giago Davies: Propaganda machine protects racist mascot (5/3)
Cronkite News: Sports teams turn to tribes for naming rights deals (5/3)
Steven Newcomb: Tricking the original nations into reconciliation (5/3)
Rosebud man selected as leader of South Dakota State University (5/3)
Klamath Tribes report results of election for leadership positions (5/3)
Leaders of Louisiana tribes in conflict over $48M relocation grant (5/3)
Choctaw Nation ordered to pay $11M for casino bus crash deaths (5/3)
Arizona reports 5.1 percent decline in casino revenue from tribes (5/3)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe casino up for discussion at city meeting (5/3)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation hoping to keep gaming lawsuit going (5/3)
Blackfeet Nation welcomes Interior Secretary Jewell to homeland (5/2)
Native Sun News: Family confronts man linked to woman's death (5/2)
Lakota Country Times: State shows cards in fight over sacred site (5/2)
Clara Caufield: Living in a state of emergency on my reservation (5/2)
Mark Trahant: Native newspapers and presidential endorsements (5/2)
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.