Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), left, and Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Photo: SCIA

Witness list for Senate hearing on 'high risk' federal Indian Country programs

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is meeting on Wednesday for the third in a series of hearings on "high risk" programs that serve tribes and their citizens.

Officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Health Service are slated to appear. They will be joined by a representative of the Government Accountability Office, which placed Indian education, health and energy on its list of vulnerable programs back in January 2017.

Notably, the BIA and the IHS have gone without permanent, political leadership since President Donald Trump took office more than a year ago. Tara Sweeney, his nominee to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, is finally moving forward after months of delays, while his pick for the IHS dropped out of the process after the White House abandoned him.

The BIA also lacks a permanent director, which is a non-political position. The last person who held the job mysteriously disappeared in April and someone is now holding it in an "acting" capacity.

The hearing takes place immediately following a a business meeting at 2:30pm Eastern in Room 628 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. The witness list follows:
Mr. Frank Rusco
Director, Natural Resources and Environment Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office, Washington, DC

Mr. Tony Dearman
Director, Bureau of Indian Education, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Mr. Darryl LaCounte
Acting Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee
Acting Director, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Oversight Hearing on "GAO High Risk List: Turning Around Vulnerable Indian Programs" (June 13, 2018)

Government Accountability Office Report:
Improving Federal Management of Programs that Serve Tribes and Their Members (February 15, 2017)

Hearings on "High Risk" Indian Programs

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