Ed Markey and Ben Lujan: Republican cuts hurt Indian Country

"As the Ranking Members of the Natural Resources Committee and the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, which has primary jurisdiction over Indian issues in the House of Representatives, we feel compelled to respond to Representative Tom Cole’s unsubstantiated criticism of a report issued by Committee staff, made in an October 24 interview appearing in Indian Country Today Media Network. The Committee staff report outlines potential impacts of House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget cuts on the federal agencies tasked with protecting America’s natural resources, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

In 2014, the Ryan budget would reduce spending on natural resource and environmental agencies by 14.8 percent from 2012 levels. This would reduce funding for agencies in the jurisdiction of the House Natural Resources Committee by more than $3.5 billion. House Natural Resources Committee Democratic staff reported in August that an almost 15 percent cut to the BIA and IHS budgets would mean reductions of nearly $375 million and $637 million, respectively, therefore fundamentally jeopardizing the federal government’s solemn fiduciary obligations to Native American and Alaska Natives. Representative Cole called these figures “fallacious,” arguing that staff “ma[d]e up numbers.” The Committee staff report did not “make up” any numbers, but merely analyzed the impact of the Ryan budget’s spending levels on programs affecting Indian country within the Committee’s jurisdiction."

Get the Story:
Reps. Edward J. Markey & Ben R. Lujan: A Response to Tom Cole’s Interview by Indian Country Today Media Network (Indian Country Today 11/1)

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