Joe Biden and Deb Haaland
President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland take part in the White House Tribal Nations Summit on November 15, 2021. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior
Biden administration releases fiscal year 2023 budget request
Monday, March 28, 2022
Indianz.Com

It’s that time of the year again. President Joe Biden and his administration have released their fiscal year 2023 budget request.

Biden is seeking $18.1 billion for the Department of the Interior, the federal agency with the most treaty and trust responsibilities to tribes and their citizens. The amount includes $4.5 billion in investments for Indian Country, according to Secretary Deb Haaland.

“President Biden has proposed an important blueprint for our country’s future that reflects the importance of science, equity and collaboration in carrying out Interior’s important missions,” Haaland said in a news release on Monday.

“These resources, coupled with the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help the Department make critical investments in climate resiliency while creating good-paying union jobs in the clean energy economy, ensuring tribal communities have the resources and support they need, and conserving and protecting wildlife and their habitats for future generations,” said Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna who is the first Native person to serve in a presidential cabinet. “Together, we can ensure that every community has a stake in our efforts to build a better America.” 

Department of the Interior FY2023 Budget Documents

More specifically, the fiscal year 2023 budget request for the Bureau of Indian Affairs is $2.8 billion. Another $1 .6 billion is being requested for the Bureau of Indian Education.

“In my tenure leading Indian Affairs, I have heard from Tribal leaders across Indian Country about the need for further investment in public safety in their communities,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said in another news release on Monday. “The President’s budget demonstrates his commitment to working with Tribal leaders to make their communities safer by increasing numbers of law enforcement officers, repairing detention facilities, preventing crime through community wellness strategies, and supporting victims.”

“In addition, this budget also reflects the President’s commitment to land consolidation, which will simplify Tribes’ ability to exercise jurisdiction over their lands,” said Newland, a citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community.

The proposal further seeks to classify certain line items within the BIA and BIE budgets as “mandatory.” For FY2023, this includes $409 million for contract support costs associated with self-determination contracts and $55.4 million in payments for tribal leases.

“This reclassification will provide Tribes with certainty in meeting these ongoing needs through dedicated funding sources,” a budget document for the BIA reads. Similar language is found in the BIE budget document

Department of Health and Human Services FY2023 Budget Documents

For the Department of Health and Human Services, Biden is seeking $127.3 billion in discretionary and $1.7 trillion in mandatory budget authority for the upcoming fiscal year. The amount includes a budget authority of nearly $9.3 billion for the Indian Health Service.

The request further seeks to classify the entire IHS budget as “mandatory” for FY2023. The proposal is historic for any presidential administration.

“The Administration is committed to implementing long- term solutions to address chronic under-funding of IHS and finally delivering on the nation’s promises to Indian Country,” a budget document reads. “To that end, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 President’s Budget takes the historic step of proposing all funding for the IHS as mandatory funding and to exempt the IHS budget from sequestration.”

Secretary Xavier Becerra is hosting a press conference at 12:30pm Eastern to outline the budget request for his department. The livestream can be accessed at hhs.gov.

The release of a budget by the White House typically leads to the consideration of the request by the respective appropriations committees in the U.S. Congress. The funding bill that includes the BIA, the BIE and the IHS has historically been released in late June to early July.

Congress, however, has been unable to enact an appropriations bill on time for most Indian Country programs. Instead, lawmakers introduce and pass “omnibus” packages, such as the one that was signed into law earlier this month, in order to prevent lapses in federal funding and to avert shutdowns of the federal government.

Fiscal year 2023 starts on October 1, 2022.

President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Makes $18.1 Billion Investment in Interior Department Initiatives
Budget proposal invests in climate resilience and clean energy while strengthening Tribal communities and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts

The following is the text of a March 28, 2022, news release from the Department of the Interior.

WASHINGTON — The Biden-Harris Administration today submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2023. The President’s Budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address—to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.

The Department of the Interior’s 2023 budget proposal totals $18.1 billion—an increase of $2.9 billion, or 19 percent, from the fiscal year 2022 continuing resolution.

“President Biden has proposed an important blueprint for our country’s future that reflects the importance of science, equity and collaboration in carrying out Interior’s important missions,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “These resources, coupled with the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help the Department make critical investments in climate resiliency while creating good-paying union jobs in the clean energy economy, ensuring Tribal communities have the resources and support they need, and conserving and protecting wildlife and their habitats for future generations. Together, we can ensure that every community has a stake in our efforts to build a better America.” 

The budget makes critical investments in the American people that will help lay a stronger foundation for shared growth and prosperity for generations to come. At Interior, the budget proposal will:

Address Climate Challenges and Build Climate Resilience: The 2023 budget proposal recognizes that worsening drought, increased weather risks, more extreme wildfires, profound threats to wildlife and habitats, warming water temperatures, and new threats from invasive species are among the immediate challenges communities face right now. The proposal includes:

  • $4.9 billion needed for healthier lands, waters, and ecosystems managed across Interior and broadens support for local conservation efforts through partnership and grant programs to meet the America the Beautiful initiative’s goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 to address the climate crisis and its impacts on nature.
  • $1.5 billion for the Department’s Wildland Fire Management program to improve wildland firefighting capabilities, which represents a $237 million increase over the 2022 continuing resolution funding level.
  • $174.2 million across the Department to address invasive species, including targeted rapid-response and early detection efforts.
  • $62.4 million for Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) programs to support a suite of water conservation, recycling and planning programs to help communities mitigate drought, increase water supply reliability, and improve water management.
  • $61 million for the agency’s Tribal Climate Resilience program to provide competitive awards to Tribes for climate-resilient planning.
  • $60 million to expand the Civilian Climate Corps and Indian Youth Service Corps programs to help restore and conserve Interior’s lands and Tribal natural resources.

Advance the Clean Energy Economy: The Interior Department is working hard to meet the President’s ambitious goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. The 2023 budget includes $51.7 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Renewable Energy programs and $7.7 million in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to establish an offshore renewable energy inspection and regulation program.

Onshore, the Administration’s clean energy goal is to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025 as required by the Energy Act of 2020. To help achieve this goal, the 2023 budget provides:

  • $152.8 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ecological Services Planning and Consultation program to support reviews and permitting of clean energy and other infrastructure and development projects, and work to avoid and mitigate potential impacts on wildlife and habitats.
  • $49.7 million for the Bureau of Land Management’s Renewable Energy program and another $11 million for planning to support the siting of renewable energy projects and associated transmission infrastructure.
  • $3.6 million for the U.S. Geological Survey to characterize and assess domestic geothermal energy resources.

Strengthen Tribal Communities: The Biden-Harris administration has made it an all-of-government priority to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Tribes, honor Tribal sovereignty, advance equity and opportunity for Indigenous communities, and help Tribal Nations overcome new and long-standing challenges. The Interior Department’s 2023 proposed budget includes $4.5 billion in investments that reflect a sustaining commitment to Tribes, including:

  • $2.8 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs programs, including an investment of $44.7 million to expand the Tiwahe Initiative. Under Tiwahe, a portion of the funding assists Tribes at selected sites to implement a Tribally driven approach to deliver services more effectively and efficiently.
  • $891.5 million for operating the entire Bureau of Indian Education elementary and secondary school system—169 elementary and secondary schools and 14 dormitories—which provide educational services to approximately 45,000 individual students in 23 States. The 2023 request includes targeted funding to improve Indian student academic outcomes, address maintenance needs, support expanded preschool and Native language programs, and provide pay parity for Tribal teachers.
  • $16.5 million to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.
  • $10 million to support a Department-wide initiative to equip all Interior-funded law enforcement officers with body-worn cameras.
  • $7 million to support Secretary Haaland’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to address the troubled legacy and intergenerational trauma of federal boarding schools. This funding will complete the historical research and documentation and begin the work to identify and protect the remains of those identified.

Reinforce Interior’s Commitment to Diversity and Equity: In February 2022, Secretary Haaland established the first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Council to prioritize equity and inclusion and incorporate best practices into the Department’s work across its many bureaus, programs, and services. The 2023 budget provides $16.8 million for the DEIA initiative, as well as:

  • $48 million across the National Park Service to advance racial justice and equity for underserved communities, including $14.3 million for operational increases at parks that preserve the stories of under-represented communities; $5.0 million to support African-American Civil Rights Network partnerships; $5.7 million to strengthen partnerships and improve coordination with Tribes; $5 million to improve park accessibility, including facility access, and accessible programming, recreational experiences and technology; and $5 million to address transportation barriers to parks from underserved communities.
  • $4 million for dedicated staff and technical support to provide programmatic expertise to implement the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative and ensure 40 percent of overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy are directed to disadvantaged communities. 

The budget makes these smart investments while also reducing deficits and improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook.

For more information on the President’s FY 2023 budget, please visit the White House website.

President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Makes Significant Investments in Indian Affairs Programs
Budget request continues all-of-government approach to addressing Tribes’ economic, education, public safety and self-determination needs

The following is the text of a March 28, 2022, news release from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

WASHINGTON – The Biden-Harris Administration today submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2023. The President’s Budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address—to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.

The request for Indian Affairs programs is $4.5 billion, an increase of $1.0 billion over the FY 2022 Continuing Resolution level. This includes $2.8 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, $1.6 billion for the Bureau of Indian Education, and $112.7 million for the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration.

The Budget makes critical investments in the American people that will help lay a stronger foundation for shared growth and prosperity for generations to come.

“President Biden has proposed an important blueprint for our country’s future that reflects the importance of science, equity and collaboration in carrying out Interior’s important missions,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “These resources, coupled with the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help the Department make critical investments in climate resiliency while creating good-paying union jobs in the clean energy economy, ensuring Tribal communities have the resources and support they need, and conserving and protecting wildlife and their habitats for future generations. Together, we can ensure that every community has a stake in our efforts to build a better America.”

“In my tenure leading Indian Affairs, I have heard from Tribal leaders across Indian Country about the need for further investment in public safety in their communities. The President’s budget demonstrates his commitment to working with Tribal leaders to make their communities safer by increasing numbers of law enforcement officers, repairing detention facilities, preventing crime through community wellness strategies, and supporting victims,” said Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “In addition, this budget also reflects the President’s commitment to land consolidation, which will simplify Tribes’ ability to exercise jurisdiction over their lands.”

The President’s Budget supports an all-of-government approach to addressing federal responsibilities and Tribal needs in Indian Country. Indian Affairs plays an important role in carrying out the federal trust responsibility by providing services to 574 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes in Alaska and the contiguous 48 states.

The President’s Budget for Interior’s Indian Affairs programs will:

  • Protect public safety and justice: The 2023 budget includes $562.1 million for Public Safety and Justice operations. Operational funding supports the expanding Tribal needs in policing, detention, and Tribal courts resulting from the McGirt v. Oklahoma Supreme Court decision and builds Tribal law enforcement, corrections, and courts operations and construction capacity nationwide. The budget also includes $16.5 million to support the Missing and Murdered Unit in BIA’s Office of Justice Services and $10 million to support a Department-wide initiative to equip all Interior-funded law enforcement officers with body-worn cameras. As part of a proposed expansion to the Tiwahe initiative, the budget includes $8 million for the Office of Tribal Justice Support to provide technical assistance to Tribes looking to develop and operate Healing to Wellness courts. These courts serve as alternatives to incarceration and provide a culturally appropriate forum to assist clients in addressing underlying behavioral health and substance abuse issues.

  • Support Indian land consolidation: The 2023 budget includes $80 million to reestablish a modified Indian Land Consolidation Program focusing support on Tribes’ plans for and adaptation to climate change. This funding recognizes the ongoing need to continue to address fractionation on Indian lands as the Land Buy-Back Program, established as part of the Cobell Settlement, ends. The program will incorporate lessons learned from the Land Buy-Back Program and the previous Indian Land Consolidation program. Indian Land Consolidation Program funding will be used to purchase fractional interests from willing individual Indian landowners and convey those interests to the Tribe with jurisdiction.

  • Support Self-Determination: The President’s Budget reflects the Administration’s support for the principles of Tribal self-determination and strengthening Tribal communities across Indian Country by proposing to reclassify Contract Support Costs and ISDEAA Section 105(l) leases as current mandatory spending in 2023. This reclassification will provide Tribes with certainty in meeting these ongoing needs through dedicated funding sources.

  • Empower Tribal communities: The President’s Budget supports and promotes Tribal sovereignty through the BIA’s Tribal Government activity, which assists federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native entities to strengthen and sustain their self-governance capabilities through Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act contracts and self-governance compacts. The budget proposes $394 million for programs that support Tribal government activities to enable Tribes to plan, conduct, consolidate, and administer programs, services, functions, and activities for their citizens according to their priorities. This request includes $23 million for the Small Tribes Supplement Program to assist eligible Tribes expand and sustain their Tribal governance.

  • Support sustainable stewardship of trust resources: The budget includes $406.6 million for critical trust natural resources activities. This includes $61 million for the Tribal Climate Resilience program. In 2023, the Tribal Climate Adaptation Grant program is funded at $33 million to better assess and meet Tribal climate adaptation needs. The Tribal Climate Resilience program also includes $21 million for a Climate Relocation Grant program and $7 million for the Tribal Civilian Climate Corps, an important jobs initiative to tackle climate change on the ground, ensure a living wage, and provide skills and a pathway to employment. Funds will also support Tribes in developing science, tools, training, planning, and implementation of actions to build resilience into resource management, infrastructure, and community development activities.

  • Support Indian families: As part of the President’s efforts to strengthen Tribal communities, the budget includes $202.2 million in Human Services funding. This amount includes $80.1 million for Social Services. The funding will allow for expanded implementation of the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act. The Act seeks to bolster child protection and ensure better coordination between child welfare and domestic violence programs in Indian Country. The budget includes $31.7 million to expand the Tiwahe initiative to protect and promote the development of prosperous and resilient Tribal communities through several Human Services programs.

  • Support economic opportunities: The 2023 budget funds the Community and Economic Development activity at $72.3 million. Job Placement and Training is funded at $23.8 million and includes $10 million for job training programs focusing on clean energy development. The Economic Development program is funded at $39.4 million and includes an investment of $24 million in Native language revitalization; and $5 million to establish an economic development component of the Tiwahe Initiative which will provide funding directly to Tribal governments to develop and operate comprehensive and integrated economic and community development programs.

  • Support Tribal priorities: Tribal Priority Allocations give Tribes the opportunity to further Indian self-determination by establishing their own priorities and reallocating Federal funds among programs in this budget category. The 2023 budget proposes Tribal Priority Allocation funding totaling $975.6 million, $902.8 million in the Bureau of Indian Affairs budget and $72.8 million in the Bureau of Indian Education budget.

  • Support the Boarding School Initiative: The 2023 budget includes $7 million for the Secretary’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative and its comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of Federal boarding school policies. This funding will complete the historical research and documentation and begin the work to identify and protect the remains of those identified. Overall, the Initiative seeks to work with Tribal Nations to begin the long healing process through transparency and accountability.

  • Support elementary and secondary education programs: The request includes $891.5 million for operating the entire Bureau of Indian Education elementary and secondary school system—169 elementary and secondary schools and 14 dormitories—providing educational services to approximately 45,000 individual students in 23 States. Funds support the basic and supplemental education programs at BIE-funded schools, student transportation, facility operations, and maintenance. The 2023 request includes targeted funding to improve Indian student academic outcomes, address maintenance needs, support expanded preschool and Native language programs, and provide pay parity for Tribal teachers while fully funding projected Tribal Grant Support Costs.

  • Support postsecondary education programs: The 2023 budget continues recognition of the critical role Tribal postsecondary institutions have in empowering Indian students and Tribal communities. These institutions are on or near reservations; they directly serve Tribal communities with culturally relevant education and career pathways in a supportive environment. Postsecondary education of Tribal members remains an essential component in the economic development of many Tribes. The request includes $185.2 million for Postsecondary Programs, including $30.3 million for the BIE-operated Haskell Indian Nations University and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, $86.5 million for grants to 29 Tribal Colleges and Universities and $13.7 million for grants for two Tribal Technical Colleges.

  • Support the execution of the Federal trust responsibilities to American Indian Tribes, individuals, and communities: The Bureau of Trust Funds Administration is responsible for the financial management of $6.16 billion of Indian trust funds held in approximately 3,900 Tribal accounts and about 404,000 Individual Indian Money accounts. Trust funds include payments from judgment awards, settlements of claims, land use agreements, royalties on natural resource use, other proceeds derived directly from trust resources, and financial investment income. The 2023 budget includes $111.2 million for Trust and Program Operations, of which $24.1 million is for Field Operations. Field Operations staff serve as the primary point of contact for trust beneficiaries—Tribes, individual Indians, and Alaska Natives—seeking information and services in conjunction with their trust assets.

Indian Affairs’ primary mission is to honor the nation’s trust, treaty and programmatic responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives, and to improve the quality of life in Indian Country. These objectives are achieved by recognizing the wide diversity of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes as distinct cultural and governmental entities, strengthening nation-to-nation relationships, and advancing their self-governance, self-determination and sovereignty.

The Budget makes these smart investments while also reducing deficits and improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook.

For more information on the President’s FY 2023 Budget, please visit: whitehouse.gov/omb/budget.

Enacting the budget policies into law this year would strengthen Indian Country’s and the nation’s economy and lay the foundation for shared prosperity. For more information on the request for Indian Affairs programs and activities, please visit doi.gov/budget/appropriations.