A Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer. Photo: BIA

Key House committee moves forward with funding bill for tribal programs

The House Committee on Appropriations is meeting on Tuesday morning to markup a bill that funds the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

The fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill provides $2.9 billion for the BIA. That represents a small increase of $10 million from current levels.

For the IHS, the bill provides $5.1 billion, including $130 million for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund. That's an increase of $97 million from current levels.

The increases go against the budget released by President Donald Trump in May. He asked Congress to cut funding for both agencies but key lawmakers from both parties have resisted.

“The agencies funded in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill do important work protecting public lands, the air we breathe and the water we drink,” Rep. Ken Calvert (R-California), the chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a press release.

Still, there is no guarantee that these particular funding levels will become law. Congress hasn't passed a stand-alone Interior appropriations bill since 2009 due to partisan bickering.

Instead, lawmakers have resorted to "omnibus" appropriations bills that include only modest increases for tribal programs. That's what happened this year, when H.R.244, which funded the federal government for fiscal year 2017, became law in May.

The markup on the fiscal year 2018 Interior bill, as well as the Homeland Security bill, starts at 11am Eastern. The session will be webcast at youtu.be/df5LIGwM0e8

The federal government's fiscal year 2018 starts on October 1, 2017.

House Committee on Appropriations Notice:
Full Committee Markup: FY2018 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, and FY2018 Interior Appropriations Bill (July 18, 2017)

FY2018 Interior Appropriations Bill:
Full Committee Draft | Full Committee Report | Bureau of Indian Affairs Provisions | Indian Health Service Provisions

Department of the Interior Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Documents:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Budget Justifications "Greenbook" | Budget in Brief |Indian Affairs Highlights | Department Office Highlights [includes Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians]

Department of Health and Human Services Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Documents:
Budget in Brief | Indian Health Service Justification

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