FY 2019 Indian Affairs Administration's Request vs House and Senate Recommendations
In this Memorandum we report on the House and Senate’s recommendations for the FY 2019 Indian Affairs budget (which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)), as well as a few other selected programs in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill, compared with the Administration’s request. The House’s Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill and accompanying report are HR 6147, H. Rept. 115-765, while the Senate’s bill and report are S 3073 and S. Rept. 115-276. To get to a House Floor vote, the House Interior appropriations bill was packaged with the House Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. Subsequently, the Senate took up the House-passed package and amended it with its own bill language for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Agriculture; and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. Differences between the two proposals will need to be worked out in conference committee when both Chambers return in September. Because the fiscal year begins October 1, 2018, Congress may resort to a Continuing Resolution to fund some federal agencies at FY 2018 terms and conditions while the conference committees negotiate.
INDIAN AFFAIRS (IA) OVERVIEW
Fortunately for Indian Country, the House recommends $3.1 billion for Indian Affairs while the Senate recommends $3 billion—a stark contrast to the $2.4 billion requested by the Trump Administration. (For reference, the FY 2018 enacted amount is $3 billion.) The FY 2018 enacted funding levels and Congress’s FY 2019 recommended funding levels reflect a broad two-year deal reached by Congress to readjust the spending caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019 for both domestic and defense accounts.
For FY 2019 the Administration requested lower spending levels and the zeroing out of many programs, including much of the funding associated with the Tiwahe Initiative. Further, throughout the budget the Administration had estimated, “Administrative savings attained by consolidating and sharing administrative services such as procurement, Information Technology and Human Resources, and by shifting acquisition spending to less costly contracts.”
The House and Senate responded by generally ignoring the Administration’s request and recommending funding levels similar to FY 2018 with increases for fixed costs as well as some targeted increases.
The House Report explains:
All subactivities and program elements presented in the budget estimate submitted to the Congress are continued at fiscal year 2018 enacted levels and adjusted for requested fixed costs and transfers. None of the requested program changes are agreed to unless specifically addressed below.
The Senate Report also reminds the Administration of previously requested information, which remains outstanding:
… budget reductions proposed in the request are not included in the recommendation. Other budget reductions proposed in the request are not included in the recommendation. The Committee has included fixed costs and internal transfers as proposed along with the following instructions.
The Committee would like to remind the Bureau of the importance of meeting reporting requirements and notes that the Bureau has not submitted reports as directed over the last several fiscal years. The Committee directs the formation of these reports in order to help determine funding levels for programs; therefore, if the Bureau cannot produce information as requested, the Committee may not be able to properly evaluate programs and future funding levels may be impacted.
The addition of many Bureau programs to the Government Accountability Office’s [GAO] 2018 high risk list (GAO–17–317) indicate there are several challenges to overcome in order to improve the Federal management of programs that serve Tribes and their members. The Committee stands ready to work with the Bureaus to implement the GAO recommendations and strongly encourages the Bureau to make these necessary changes.
The In keeping with prior years, the following statement of values is included in the House Report:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs (together, “Indian Affairs”) programs serve 573 federally recognized Indian Tribes, a service population of approximately two million American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal and Native communities. The Bureau of Indian Affairs provides direct services and funding for compacts and contracts for Tribes to provide Federal programs for a wide range of activities necessary for community development. Programs address Tribal government, natural resource management, trust services, law enforcement, economic development, and social service needs. The Bureau of Indian Education manages a school system with 169 elementary and secondary schools and 14 dormitories providing educational services to 47,000 individual students, with an Average Daily Membership of 41,000 students in 23 States. The BIE also operates two post-secondary schools and administers grants for 29 Tribally controlled colleges and universities and two Tribal technical colleges. In preparation for the fiscal year 2019 appropriation bill, the Subcommittee held two days of hearings and received testimony from over 80 witnesses on a variety of topics pertaining to American Indian and Alaska Native programs. The Federal government has a legal and moral obligation to provide quality services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. On a nonpartisan basis, the Committee continues to protect and, where possible, strengthen the budgets for Indian Country programs in this bill in order to address longstanding and underfunded needs [emphasis added].
Department of Interior Reorganization. For FY 2019, to comply with President Trump’s Executive Order 13781 on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch, each federal agency is creating a reorganization plan. See our General Memorandum 17-025 of April 14, 2017. The Department of Interior is proposing to reorganize around common regional boundaries to “enhance coordination of resource decisions and policies and simplify how citizens engage with the Department”. Since iterations of the proposed reorganization plan have been made public, there has been significant pushback from tribes. Secretary Zinke has indicated that BIE will not be part of this since it is already in the process of reorganizing and that it could be up to tribes to determine whether the BIA is included in the proposed reorganization or not. Many tribes have expressed concern about the proposed reorganization—both in terms of the structure of the proposed reorganization as well as the level of consultation with tribes. One concern about the proposal to align offices along regional boundaries and push more decisions to the regional level is that tribes interact with other bureaus and offices in the Department of Interior beyond Indian Affairs so it might not be easy for tribes to simply “opt out.” The House’s and Senate’s responses are found under the EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES and the OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY—DEPARTMENTAL OPERATIONS sections of this report.
Public Lands Infrastructure Initiative. For FY 2019, the Administration is proposing the creation of a new Public Lands Infrastructure Fund (Fund) to “address repairs and improvements in national parks, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools.” However, in order for the Fund to accrue a balance that can be spent on these projects, the Administration is proposing that 50% of any revenues from energy leasing above the current FY 2018 baseline be deposited into the Fund for a period of 10 years, with the total deposits capped at $18 billion (the other 50% of increased revenues would go to the Treasury to support deficit reduction). The Administration estimates that this would result in $6.8 billion in expenditures from the Fund over 10 years. On the other hand, the Department of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee is also considering sharply lowering the royalty rate for these energy leases. Thus, there would need to be substantially more energy development on public lands in order for the proposed Fund to accrue this estimated amount. Congress is currently considering this proposed Public Lands Infrastructure Fund as separate legislation. Further information about the Administration’s request for regular appropriations for school maintenance and repair—as well as the House’s and Senate’s responses—are found under the EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION subsection of this report.
Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) budget includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).
Tribal Priority Allocations (TPA). The House Report affirms the importance of TPA programs:
The recommendation includes $706,373,000 for Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) programs, $15,289,000 above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $127,698,000 above the budget request. TPA programs fund basic Tribal services, such as social services, job placement and training, child welfare, natural resources management, and Tribal courts. TPA programs give Tribes the opportunity to further Indian self determination by establishing their own priorities and reallocating Federal funds among programs in this budget category.
Activities within the Bureau of Indian Affairs are: Tribal Government; Human Services; Trust-Natural Resources Management; Trust-Real Estate Services; Public Safety and Justice; Community and Economic Development; and Executive Direction and Administrative Services.
The Tribal Government sub-activities are: Aid to Tribal Government; Consolidated Tribal Government Program; Self-Governance Compacts; New Tribes; Small and Needy Tribes; Road Maintenance; and Tribal Government Program Oversight. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 175-176 of the House Report and p. 129 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out funding for the Small and Needy Tribes sub-activity. For some sub-activities, modest increases are recommended.
Consolidated Tribal Government Program. The Senate Report states: The Committee is concerned about the funding and allocation for the Consolidated Tribal Government Program and has included the fiscal year 2018 enacted level for this program along with fixed costs. The Committee again requests the Bureau report back to the Committee within 30 days of enactment of this act with a description of the number of Tribes that use this program and how increases for this program compare to others that offer similar services.
Self-Governance Compacts. This sub-activity provides resources to new and existing self-governance tribes, enabling them to plan, conduct, consolidate and administer programs, services, functions, and activities for tribal citizens. The Senate recommended a $1.1 million increase above FY 2018.
New Tribes. This sub-activity provides $160,000 in Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding per tribe to support newly federally-recognized tribes. Once a tribe has been acknowledged, it remains in this category for three fiscal years. Congress concurred with the Administration’s request for $1,120,000 to provide initial federal support for the six Virginia tribes federally recognized by an Act of Congress in January 2018: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond. The Senate Report elaborates that, “the Committee is also aware that new Tribes seeking Tribal recognition are often met with delay. The Committee expects the Bureau to efficiently administer the Tribal recognition process and strongly encourages action on pending requests.”
Small and Needy Tribes. The purpose of this sub-activity is to provide small tribes with a minimum Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding by which they can support their tribal governments. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to zero out this sub-activity, instead proposing level funding ($4,448,000). The Senate Report explains that, “This funding will enable all small and needy Tribes to receive the maximum base level provided by the Bureau to run Tribal governments and directs the Bureau to make these payments quickly after the apportionment is approved.”
Road Maintenance. The House recommends a $3.6 million increase for this sub-activity while the Senate recommends near-level funding. With regard to school bus routes, the House Report directs: “Indian Affairs is urged to use the increase to improve the condition of unpaved roads and bridges used by school buses transporting students.” The Senate Report once again requests an update on the implementation of the Government Accountability Office’s recommendations:
The Committee is concerned about the future funding of the Road Maintenance account, the backlog for deferred maintenance of roads in Indian Country, and the implementation of roads data in the National Tribal Transportation Facility Inventory; therefore, the Committee directs the Bureau to report back to the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this act on how the Bureau plans to allocate the funds provided in the bill and the progress being made to implement the GAO recommendations outlined in the report GAO–17–423. Within the program funding for road maintenance, $1,000,000 is continued for the implementation of the NATIVE Act of 2016.
The Human Services sub-activities are: Social Services; Welfare Assistance; Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); Housing Improvement Program (HIP); Human Services Tribal Design; and Human Services Program Oversight. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 176 of the House Report and p. 129 of the Senate Report).
Tiwahe Initiative. The House and Senate once again rejected the Administration’s proposed cuts to the individual Human Services sub-activities (many of which support the broader Tiwahe Initiative) as well as the Administration’s proposal to zero out funding for the Tiwahe Initiative demonstration project and the Housing Improvement Program sub-activity.
The House Report provides the following direction:
Funding for the Tiwahe (family) initiative is restored. As originally proposed by the Department and supported by the Congress, fiscal year 2019 is the fifth and final year of the initiative. After the fiscal year has ended, and in consultation with affected Tribes, the Bureau is directed to publish a final report that includes measures of success and guidelines for other Tribes wanting to implement the model with Tribal Priority Allocation funds.
The Senate Report elaborates:
The recommendation includes funding to continue the Tiwahe Initiative at the enacted levels. The Committee believes this initiative is a way to help strengthen Tribal communities by leveraging programs and resources; however, it is important to measure program effectiveness. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on the performance measures being used to monitor and track the initiative’s effectiveness in Indian country. Within the amounts provided for Tiwahe, at least $300,000 is to be used to support women and children’s shelters that are serving the needs of multiple tribes or Alaska native Villages in the areas served by Tiwahe pilot sites. The Committee continues to support the Tiwahe pilot initiative; however, the Committee understands there are significant social service needs in Indian Country. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back within 180 days of enactment of this act on the status of the National Training Center for Indian Services and how this Center will seek to improve social services across Indian Country.
Welfare Assistance. Once again, the Senate Report requests the following information:
The Committee remains concerned about the funding distribution for welfare assistance and directs the Bureau to report back to the Committee upon enactment of this act on how this funding would be distributed.
The Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities are: Natural Resources, general; Irrigation Operation and Maintenance; Rights Protection Implementation; Tribal Management/Development Programs; Endangered Species; Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation; Integrated Resource Information; Agriculture and Range; Forestry; Water Resources; Fish/Wildlife & Parks; and Resource Management Oversight. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 176-177 of the House Report and p. 129-130 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s proposed cuts, as well as the Administration’s proposal to zero out funding for the Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation sub-activity. Instead, the Chambers recommended funding the Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities at close to FY 2018 enacted levels.
Tribal Management/Development Program, including Cooperative Agreements and Alaska Subsistence. The Senate Report directs:
Within the amounts, $12,036,000 is provided for the Tribal Management/Development Program. The recommendation does not include the proposed cuts to the rights protection implementation program or the invasive species program. It is the Committee’s understanding the Bureau has entered into cooperative agreements with Ahtna Inter Tribal Resource Commission and the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission with other organizations interested in establishing similar agreements; therefore, it is the Committee’s expectation that within the funding provided, pilot projects and programs for Alaska subsistence will continue.
Funding Distributions for Tribes East of the Mississippi River. The Senate Report states: The Committee recognizes that many Tribes west of the Mississippi River tend to have reservations that are larger in terms of land mass than those east of the Mississippi River and face challenges including drought. However, the Committee expects that Tribes across the country who have resource challenges receive appropriate.funding.
Resource Management Agreements with Tribes. The Senate Report directs:
The Department of the Interior is expected to promote and expand the use of agreements with Indian Tribes to protect Indian trust resources from catastrophic wildfire, insect and disease infestation, or other threats from adjacent Federal lands, as authorized by law. The Committee directs the Bureau to coordinate with the Office of Wildland Fire to submit a report describing how the Department determines the use of wildfire suppression and rehabilitation resources and prioritizes Indian forest land.
Coastal Tribes. The House Report directs:
The Committee supports the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ efforts to address the needs of coastal Tribal communities by working to address threats to public safety, natural resources, and sacred sites. Consistent with the Federal government’s treaty and trust obligations, the Committee directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work with at-risk Tribes to identify and expedite the necessary resources.
Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The House Report directs:
Within the amounts provided for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the recommendation continues $545,000 for substantially producing Tribal hatcheries in BIA’s Northwest Region currently not receiving annual BIA hatchery operations funding. This funding should be allocated in the same manner as in fiscal year 2018 but should be considered base funding in fiscal year 2019 and thereafter.
Pacific Salmon Treaty. The Senate Report directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau to report back in 30 days of enactment of this act with a detailed cost estimate of the Bureaus responsibilities under the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Tribal Partnerships with USGS. The Senate Report directs: The Committee continues direction for the Bureau to enter into a formal partnership with local Tribes and the United States Geological Survey to help develop a water quality strategy for transboundary rivers. .
The Trust–Real Estate Services sub-activities are: Trust Services; Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program; Probate; Land Title and Records Offices; Real Estate Services; Land Records Improvement; Environmental Quality; Alaska Native Programs; Rights Protection; and Trust-Real Estate Services Oversight.
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s proposed cuts, including the Administration’s proposal to zero out funding for the Alaska Native Programs sub-activity and the Litigation Support/Attorney Fees program element within the Rights Protection sub-activity. The Senate Report explains that the recommended increase above the FY 2018 enacted level is to cover fixed costs and internal transfers.
Alaska Native Programs. Not only did the House and Senate reject the Administration’s request to zero out the sub-activity, the Senate Report specifies that within the amount recommended, there continue to be a program level of $450,000 for “the certification of historical places and cultural sites, including Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act sites.”
Realty Trust Acquisition Program. The House Report directs:
The Committee directs the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to identify the funding determined necessary, in collaboration with congressional and agency stakeholders, within the Trust—Real Estate Services budget activity to improve the efficiency of the Realty Trust acquisition program at BIA. The Committee understands that the program has long suffered from shortages of personnel which has resulted in a history of backlogs, slow processing times and has hindered engagement with Tribes and Tribal members.
Furthermore, the Committee understands the program is transitioning to a more automated tracking process and looks forward to more timely and accurate processing and reporting. The Committee expects the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs to be in regular communication with the Committee regarding direction or assistance needed until the problems of backlogs and slow processing times have been adequately resolved.
Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. The House Report, echoing the FY 2018 Joint Explanatory Statement, directs:
The Committee directs the Secretary, or his designee, to work with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to identify appropriate lands in Clallam County, Washington, to satisfy the requirements of section 7 of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 102–495).
Abandoned Wells. The Senate Report, echoing the FY 2018 Joint Explanatory Statement, directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau to conduct an inventory of wells for which BIA is responsible to reclaim, including cost estimates, for submission to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act.
Fee-to-Trust. The Senate Report states:
The Committee notes the Bureau’s ongoing public comment period concerning the revision of fee-to-trust regulations and directs the Bureau to report to the Committee within 30 days of the date of the enactment of this act concerning the status of all pending applications before the Bureau, including detail on tribal consultation undertaken during the revision process.
The Public Safety and Justice sub-activities are: Law Enforcement; Tribal Courts; and Fire Protection. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 179 of the House Report and p. 131 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out Tribal Justice Support for tribes in PL 280 states and for the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). While the Senate proposed largely level funding, the House Report specifies the following increases:
The recommendation includes $418,915,000 for Public Safety and Justice. Program increases include: $2,500,000 in Criminal Investigations and Police Services to bring the total to $10,303,000 for additional patrol officers in areas hit hardest by the opioid epidemic; $1,148,000 for facility operations and maintenance; and $8,000,000 for Tribal courts. The Committee recognizes that one of the most fundamental aspects of the Federal government’s Trust responsibility is the obligation to protect public safety on Tribal lands.
Tiwahe Initiative: Reducing Recidivism. The Senate Report emphasizes, “The Committee also expects the recidivism initiative administered through the Tiwahe initiative to be continued at current levels.”
Impacts of Opioid Addictions. This funding first appeared in the FY 2018 Omnibus. The Senate Report specifies, “… and $7,500,000 is continued to help people affected by opioid addiction.”
NAGPRA Implementation. This funding is also a recent addition. The Senate Report specifies:
Within the funding provided for criminal investigations and police services, $1,000,000 is to be continued for the implementation of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Law Enforcement Funding for Restored Tribes. The Senate Report once again provides the following direction and once again requests following report:
The Committee understands that several Tribes who were terminated and then subsequently restored now face significant challenges in securing law enforcement funding through self-determination contracts. The Bureau is directed to work with affected Tribes to assess their law enforcement needs and submit a report to the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this act that details the amounts necessary to provide sufficient law enforcement capacity for these Tribes.
Educational and Health-Related Services for Individuals in Tribal Detention Centers Considered Allowable Costs. The House Committee continued report language from FYs 2017 and 2018, stating:
For the purpose of addressing the needs of juveniles in custody at Tribal detention centers operated or administered by the BIA, educational and health-related services to juveniles in custody are allowable costs for detention/corrections program funding. Indian Affairs is urged to provide mental health and substance abuse services when needed by juvenile and adult detainees and convicted prisoners.
Tribal Courts and Tribal Justice Support in PL 280 States. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to zero out judicial funding for tribes in PL 280 states. The Senate Report provides the BIA with the following continued direction:
The Committee does not accept the proposed decrease for Tribal justice support and restores this amount to ensure $13,000,000 remains available to address the needs of Public Law 83–280 States. The Committee remains concerned about the Tribal courts needs as identified in the Indian Law and Order Commission’s November 2013 report which notes Federal investment in Tribal justice for Public Law 83–280 States has been more limited than elsewhere in Indian Country. The Committee expects the Bureau to continue to work with Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to consider options that promote, design, or pilot Tribal court systems for Tribal communities subject to full or partial State jurisdiction under Public Law 83–280.
VAWA Implementation and Tribal Justice Support. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to zero out funding for VAWA Implementation. The Senate Report provides the BIA with the following continued direction:
Within the amounts provided, the Committee also continues $2,000,000 for the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] for both training and VAWA specific Tribal court needs. .
The Community and Economic Development sub-activities are: Job Placement and Training; Economic Development; Minerals and Mining; and Community Development Oversight.
The House and Senate rejected all of the Administration’s proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out the elements of the Tiwahe Initiative funded under Job Placement and Training sub-activity. The Senate Report states that the Committee “expects the funding for the Tiwahe initiative will continue at enacted levels.” The House and Senate also continue targeted increases to fund implementation of the NATIVE Act and to modernize the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS).
Implementation of the NATIVE Act. The House and Senate agreed to continue directing $3.4 million of Community Development-Central Oversight funds towards implementation of the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE Act). The House Report explains that this implementation can continue to occur “via cooperative agreements with Tribes or Tribal organizations…”
Minerals and Mining and NIOGEMS. The House and Senate propose to continue directing a portion of funding under the Minerals and Mining sub-activity to the modernization of oil and gas management (including the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS)). The House Report proposes a $2 million increase:
The recommendation includes a program increase of $2,000,000 in Minerals and Mining Projects for modernizing oil and gas records management in Bureau of Indian Affairs Agency Offices, including: digitizing oil and gas lease and other records; deploying computer systems such as the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS); and providing petroleum engineers and geologists to train and advise Agency Office staff and Tribal Minerals Oversight entities.
The Senate Report proposes a $1 million increase and requests following report:
The recommendation continues program increases of $1,000,000 for the modernization of oil and gas records including the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System [NIOGEMS]. The Committee understands the NIOGEMS has been distributed to some Tribes and regional offices and instructs the Bureau to report back within 120 days of enactment of this act on the cost to further expand this system to more reservations and offices.
GAO High Risk Report. The Senate Committee once again requests the following response to the high risk GAO report (GA0-17-317):
The recent GAO high risk report found the Bureau does not properly manage Indian energy resources held in trust and thereby limits opportunities for Tribes and their members to use those resources to create economic benefits in their communities. The Committee requests the Bureau work to make the necessary changes recommended by the GAO report and report back to the Committee outlining any barriers, statutory or regulatory, that prohibit or slow the pace of resource development as well as a status update on the open items that still need to be implemented according to the GAO report.
Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development. The House Report proposes the following increase and expectations:
The recommendation includes a program increase of $3,000,000 for the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development to provide more assistance for: feasibility studies of development projects; greater access to private financing for such projects; technical assistance for more Tribes to establish commercial codes, courts and other business structures to enhance economic development; building Tribal capacity for leasing Tribal lands and managing economic and energy resource development; and incubators of Tribal-owned and other Native American-owned businesses. The Office is expected to track accomplishments for each of these purposes, and to report annually in its budget justification.
The Executive Direction and Administrative Services sub-activities are: Assistant Secretary Support; Executive Direction; Administrative Services; Safety and Risk Management; Information Resources Technology; Human Capital Management; Facilities Management; Intra-Governmental Payments; and Rentals.
The Administration requested a number of cuts, the most substantial being:
• a $6 million cut to the Administrative Services sub activity, largely in the form of a staffing cut of 44 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions. The House concurred with this request for cuts to Administrative Services (Central) and (Regional) program elements but not for the Administrative Services (Tribal Priority Allocation) program element. • a $9 million cut to the Information Resources Technology sub-activity, which includes a staffing cut of 11 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions.
The Administration also requested a number of smaller cuts to other sub-activities and certain program elements. The House concurs with the requested spending levels for the following sub-activities and program elements: Assistant Secretary Support; Executive Direction (Central); Executive Direction (Regional); and Rentals.
Reorganization to Common Regional Boundaries. The Administration did request one modest, targeted increase to the Human Resources sub activity “to support the Department’s migration to common regional boundaries to improve service and efficiency.” The Administration explained, “Organizing the bureaus along common geographic lines will allow for more integrated and better coordinated decision making across the Department. The Department will hold a robust consultation process with tribal nations before actions are made with respect to Indian Affairs regions.” The House Report concurs with this request, stating, “The increase requested for common regional boundaries is provided from within funds.”
Health and Safety Inspections at BIE System Facilities. The House Report continues language from FY 2018, directing, “Indian Affairs is directed to complete annual health and safety inspections of all BIE system facilities and to publish quarterly updates on the status of such inspections.”
BIE Vacancies. The House Report directs “Human Resources is directed to make filling vacancies within the Bureau of Indian Education its highest priority.”
Operating and Law Enforcement Needs for Treaty Fishing Sites on the Columbia River. The Senate Report continues language from FYs 2017 and 2018, once again requesting the following report:
The Committee notes that the Bureau has not yet complied with the fiscal year 2018 directive to provide a report on funding requirements associated with operating and law enforcement needs for congressionally authorized treaty fishing sites on the Columbia River. The Bureau is directed to transmit the report no later than 30 days following enactment of this act. The Bureau is also urged to incorporate unfunded needs for these sites as part of the Bureau’s fiscal year 2020 budget.
Implementation of Amendments to the “477” Program. The Senate Report states, “The Committee is concerned the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Act, as amended, has not been fully implemented. The Bureau shall report back within 60 days of enactment of this act on the status of implementation.”
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) category displays funds for the BIE-funded elementary and secondary school systems as well as other education programs including higher education and scholarships. The Bureau of Indian Education sub-activities are: Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); and Education Management.
The House and Senate rejected the dramatic cuts proposed by the Administration but differ on how to handle the one-time $16.8 million increase provided in FY 2018 to complete the transition to a school year (forward funded) funding cycle for all Tribal colleges and universities. The House is proposing to continue that increased funding level from FY 2018 but distribute the increase across a number of other BIE sub-activities, described in more detail below. The Senate is largely proposing to continue FY 2018 spending levels but omit the amount attributed to the one-time increase.
Implementation of the BIE Transformation and GAO Recommendations. The House Report states:
Consistent with GAO report 13–774, the Secretary is urged to reorganize Indian Affairs so that control and accountability of the BIE system is consolidated within the BIE, to present such reorganization proposal in the next fiscal year budget request, and to submit to the Committees a corresponding updated workforce plan. The Senate Report states:
The Committee fully supports making the needed reforms to the Bureau of Indian Education [BIE] in order to improve the quality of education offered to address the performance gap of student’s education at BIE-funded schools. The first phase of the current reform effort was approved in 2015; however, the Committee has not received any updated information on the next phase nor has the Bureau complied with Committee directives to report on the status of multiple programs as part of the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process. Over the past 3 years, the GAO has issued several reports (GAO–13–774, GAO–15–121, GAO–17–447, GAO–17–421, and GAO–16–313) outlining management challenges at the Bureau and there are still outstanding open recommendations to address as well as additional issues outlined in the high risk report (GAO–17–317). The Committee is fully supportive of efforts to reform and better the system, but concerns about how the Bureau manages funding, tracks school conditions, and manages the overall school system remain. The Committee stands ready to work with the administration on the appropriate steps forward and directs the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to report back within 60 days of enactment of this act on the progress made towards implementing all the GAO recommendations and the current status of the reform effort as well as the status of Congressional directives.
Inter-Agency Coordination to Serve Native Children. The House and Senate Reports continue language from prior fiscal years urging greater inter-agency coordination in order to better serve Native students:
The House Report states:
The BIE is encouraged to coordinate with the Indian Health Service to integrate preventive dental care and mental health care at schools within the BIE system.
The Senate Report states:
The administration’s emphasis on education must be complemented by efforts to improve interagency coordination for the multiplicity of programs that affect the wellbeing of Native children. In addition to education, these include healthcare, social service, child welfare and juvenile justice programs. The Committee encourages the Bureau to work with other relevant Federal, State, local, and Tribal organizations to begin the process of identifying ways to make programs more effective in serving Native Children. The Bureau, working with the Indian Health Service as appropriate, is also urged to consider integrating school-based preventative health services such as dental care into elementary schools in order to improve health outcomes of Tribal students.
Bill Language Continuing Limitations on New Schools and the Expansion of Grades, Charter Schools, Satellite Locations and BIE-funded Schools in Alaska. For FY 2019, the Administration requested the continuation of this limiting language from fiscal years prior to FY 2018. Notably in FY 2018, Congress modified the restriction on BIE funds being used to support expanded grades for any school or dormitory beyond its current grade structure to provide additional (limited) circumstances when this can be permitted. The House and Senate Reports propose to continue this modified language.
The House Report explains the intent of these restrictions and also clarifies how the restrictions on charter schools and satellite locations should be interpreted:
The bill continues language limiting the expansion of grades and schools in the BIE system while allowing for the expansion of additional grades to schools that meet certain criteria. The intent of the language is to prevent already limited funds from being spread further to additional schools and grades. The intent is not to limit Tribal flexibility at existing schools. Nothing in the bill is intended to prohibit a Tribe from converting a Tribally-controlled school already in the BIE system to a charter school in accordance with State and Federal law.
The bill continues language providing the Secretary with the authority to approve satellite locations of existing BIE schools if a Tribe can demonstrate that the establishment of such locations would provide comparable levels of education as are being offered at such existing BIE schools, and would not significantly increase costs to the Federal government. The intent is for this authority to be exercised only in extraordinary circumstances to provide Tribes with additional flexibility regarding where students are educated without compromising how they are educated, and to significantly reduce the hardship and expense of transporting students over long distances, all without unduly increasing costs that would otherwise unfairly come at the expense of other schools in the BIE system.
The Elementary and Secondary forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: ISEP Formula Funding; ISEP Program Adjustments; Education Program Enhancements; Tribal Education Departments; Student Transportation; Early Childhood Development; and Tribal Grant Support Costs (formerly titled Administrative Cost Grants). Funds appropriated for FY 2019 for these programs will become available for obligation on July 1, 2019, for SY 2019-2020. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 177 of the House Report and p. 130 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request for overall cuts and request to zero out funding for Tribal Education Departments and for Early Childhood Development (commonly referred to as the FACE program). Further, they rejected the Administration’s lower estimate for what would constitute full funding for Tribal Grant Support Costs. While the Senate is proposing level funding, the is House proposing a $1.1 million increase.
ISEP and Language and Culture. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to cut $24.8 million from ISEP Formula Funds and instead recommend a $1.2 million increase. Further, they rejected the requested $2.8 million cut to ISEP Program Adjustments. The Senate Report emphasizes that ISEP funds should be used to enhance access to Native language and culture programs:
The Committee fully supports broadening access to Native language and culture programs, which have been linked to higher academic achievement for Native youth. The Committee expects the Individual Student Equalization Program should continue to enhance access to Native language and culture programs in BIE-funded schools and directs the Bureau to report within 60 days of enactment of this act on how previous funding provided has been and can continue to be used to support these programs.
Education Program Enhancements and Language Immersion. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s proposal to cut $5.9 million from this program element; however, they differ on how much to set aside for capacity building grants to expand Native language immersion.
The House Report states:
Education Program Enhancements … include $3,000,000 for capacity building grants for Bureau and tribally operated schools to expand existing language immersion programs or to create new programs. Prior to distributing these funds, the Bureau shall coordinate with the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that Bureau investments complement, but do not duplicate, existing language immersion programs.
The Senate Report states:
Within the funds provided for education program enhancements, $2,000,000 is directed to continue native language immersion grants. The Bureau is expected to report within 60 days of enactment of this act regarding the status of fiscal year 2018 funds and the planned distribution of funds in this act.
Student Transportation. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to cut $5.4 million from this program element. The House proposes a $2.6 million increase while the Senate once again requests the following report:
The Committee is concerned by the recent Government Accountability Office report (GAO–17–423) on Tribal transportation, which identified potential negative impacts of road conditions on Native student school attendance. The Committee recommends BIE take steps to improve its data collection on the cause of student absences, including data on road and weather conditions, and to report back to the Committee within 120 days of enactment of this act regarding its actions to improve student absence data tracking and analysis.
The Elementary and Secondary non-forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: Facilities Operations; Facilities Maintenance; Juvenile Detention Center Grants; and Johnson-O’Malley Assistance Grants. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 178 of the House Report and p. 130-131 of the Senate Report).
Facilities. The House and Senate also rejected the Administration’s request to cut $6.2 million from the Facilities Operations and $5.8 million from Facilities Maintenance program elements. While the Senate proposes level funding for both Facilities accounts, the House recommends a $10.1 million increase for Facilities Operations.
Juvenile Detention Center Grants. In FY 2016, Congress initiated this grant program to meet the education and health-related needs of Native youth detained or incarcerated in currently operating, BIA-funded, juvenile detention centers for an extended period of time. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to zero it out.
Johnson O’Malley Assistance Grants. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to zero out funding for the Johnson O’Malley program and while neither Chamber recommends a decrease for this grant program, the Senate Report once again raises concerns about the accuracy of the student count:
The Committee remains concerned about the distribution methodology of the Johnson O’Malley [JOM] assistance grants and requests the Bureau report back to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act on the status of updating the JOM counts and the methodology used to determine the new counts. The Committee would like the Bureau to include what, if any, barriers there are to providing updates to the JOM count.
This sub-activity includes forward funded Tribal Colleges and Universities and forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges (United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and Navajo Technical University (NTU)) and now, finally, Haskell and SIPI. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 177 of the House Report and p. 130 of the Senate Report).
In FY 2018, Congress provided an additional $16.8 million in one-time funding to ensure that BIE-run Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell) and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) finally joined the rest of the tribal technical colleges, colleges and universities on a forward funded schedule. In FY 2019, the House is proposing to redistribute a portion of that $16.8 million as follows for these Post Secondary accounts: a $1.8 million increase for Haskell and SIPI; a $3 million increase for Tribal Colleges and Universities and a $350,000 increase for Tribal Technical Colleges.
Study of Unfunded Tribal College Needs. The Senate Report once again requests the following:
The Committee also recognizes that many Tribal colleges have significant unfunded needs and directs the Bureau to work with Tribal leaders and other stakeholders to develop a consistent methodology for determining Tribal college operating needs to inform future budget requests. The Committee expects the methodology to address operating and infrastructure needs including classrooms and housing. .
The non-forward funded Post Secondary Programs sub-activity includes: Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements; Scholarships and Adult Education; Special Higher Education Scholarships; and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 178 of the House Report and p. 131 of the Senate Report).
The difference between the FY 2018 enacted level and what the House and Senate recommend for FY 2019 is that it reflects the fact that Haskell and SIPI have been moved to a forward funded schedule. The Chambers rejected the Administration’s request to cut Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements and to zero out everything else.
The Education Management sub-activity consists of Education Program Management and Information Technology.
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to cut $9.4 million from Education Program Management and $2.5 million from Information Technology.
High-Speed Internet Access for Schools. The Administration, while requesting a $2.5 million program cut, stated in their FY 2019 budget justification that, “The BIE’s highest priorities are expanding available bandwidth at BIE-funded schools and maintaining a modern IT infrastructure to keep pace with developments in education.” The Senate Report continues language from FY 2018, once again requesting the following report:
The Committee understands the importance of bringing broadband to reservations and villages, but remains concerned about how these funds are used and the planning process used for this type of investment. The Committee directs the agency to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on a scalable plan to increase bandwidth in schools, procure computers, and software. This report should also include how the Bureau is working with other Federal agencies to coordinate and plan for the technology buildout.
CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
FY 2018 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary (Estimated: $241,600,000) FY 2019 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary (Estimated: $247,000,000) FY 2019 House Such sums as may be necessary (Estimated: $247,000,000) FY 2019 Senate Such sums as may be necessary (Estimated: $247,000,000) The House and Senate concurred with the Administration’s request that Contract Support Costs (CSC) continue as an indefinite appropriation at “such sums as may be necessary” and that it continue in its own separate account comprised of Contract Support (such sums as may be necessary, estimated to be: $242,000,000) and the Indian Self-Determination Fund ($5,000,000).
The House Report states:
The Committee recommends an indefinite appropriation estimated to be $247,000,000 for contract support costs incurred by the agency as required by law. The bill includes language making available for two years such sums as are necessary to meet the Federal government’s full legal obligation, and prohibiting the transfer of funds to any other account for any other purpose.
The Senate Report states:
Contract Support Costs.—The Committee has continued language from fiscal year 2018 establishing an indefinite appropriation for contract support costs estimated to be $247,000,000 which is an increase of $5,400,000 above the fiscal year 2018 level. By retaining an indefinite appropriation for this account, additional funds may be provided by the Bureau if its budget estimate proves to be lower than necessary to meet the legal obligation to pay the full amount due to Tribes. The Committee believes fully funding these costs will ensure that Tribes have the necessary resources they need to deliver program services efficiently and effectively.
General Provisions Continued. At the Administration’s request, the House and Senate continue by reference the following general provisions:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. 405. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2019. Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2019 Limitation
Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2019 under headings “Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs” and “Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs” are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2019 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
FY 2018 Enacted $354,113,000 FY 2019 Admin. Request $133,288,000* FY 2019 House $354,485,000 FY 2019 Senate $359,419,000 *(The Administration is requesting to spend $133,288,000 but “cancel” $21,367,000 in unobligated, prior fiscal year balances for a total of $111,921,000.)
The Construction budget includes: Education Construction; Public Safety and Justice Construction; Resources Management Construction; and Other Program Construction/ General Administration.
Recognizing the substantial unmet need in Indian Country, the House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to cut $220.8 million from the overall Construction budget and rejected the Administration’s request for a rescission of $21,367,000 in unobligated balances from prior fiscal years. The House and Senate instead propose near-FY 2018 spending levels with increases provided for fixed costs. In addition, the Senate is proposing a number of targeted increases.
The Education Construction sub-activities are: Replacement School Construction; Replacement Facility Construction; Employee Housing Repair; and Facilities Improvement and Repair.
Despite the substantial demonstrated need for school repair and replacement funding, the Administration once again asked Congress to zero out funding for Replacement School Campus Construction and Replacement School Facility Construction in FY 2019. Instead, the House and Senate continued the robust funding levels they provided in FY 2018, proposing to apportion the funding as follows:
• Replacement School Campus Construction $105,504,000 • Replacement Facility Construction $ 23,935,000 • Employee Housing Repair $ 13,576,000 • Facilities Improvement and Repair $ 95,235,000
School Campus Replacement Construction List. The House Report provides the following direction:
The Committee recognizes the School Facilities & Construction Negotiated Rulemaking Committee established under Public Law 107–110 for the equitable distribution of funds. Appropriations in this bill for campus-wide replacement are limited to the 10 schools selected via the rulemaking committee process and published by Indian Affairs on April 5, 2016. Indian Affairs should submit a similar list for facilities with the fiscal year 2020 budget request.
Innovative Financing for Repair and Replacement. The House Report continues to express support for innovative financing options for school campus replacement: The Committee continues to strongly support innovative financing options to supplement annual appropriations and accelerate repair and replacement of Bureau schools, including through the use of construction bonds, tax credits, and grant programs. Indian Affairs is urged to work with any Tribes willing to include such financing in ongoing and future projects.
Facilities Improvement and Repair: Deferred Maintenance and Safety Inspections. The Senate Report provides the following direction and requests the following reports: The Committee expects the increases continued for the facility improvement and repair program shall be used to address deficiencies identified by annual school safety inspections.
The Committee remains concerned about the deferred maintenance projects at schools and directs the Bureau to submit the allocation plan as required by Public Law 115–31. The Committee is encouraged to learn that BIA and BIE continue to work together to ensure annual safety inspections are completed for all BIE school facilities. However, the Committee is concerned that, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office in report GAO–16–313, BIA and BIE have not developed concrete tracking and capacity-building systems to ensure safety issues flagged by these inspections are addressed in a timely manner. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned by reports from tribally operated BIE schools that BIE does not provide timely access to or training about the Facilities Improvement and Repair Program and other available emergency maintenance funding. The Committee directs BIE and BIA to report back within 90 days with a detailed implementation plan to address these remaining concerns.
Long-Term Facilities Plan. The Senate Report continues to request a long-term facilities plan for BIE-system schools modeled after the one produced by the Department of Defense Education Activity:
The Committee understands many schools are in need of repair, improvement, and upgrades in order to bring schools into good condition. The Committee stands ready to work with the administration and Tribes to develop a comprehensive strategy that provides safe, functional, and accessible facilities for schools. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on the progress the Bureau has made towards implementing a long-term facilities plan similar to the Department of Defense process in 2009 as encouraged in the joint explanatory statement accompanied by Public Law 114–113. .
The Public Safety & Justice Construction sub-activities are: Facilities Replacement/New Construction; Employee Housing; Facilities Improvement and Repair; Fire Safety Coordination; and Fire Protection.
The House and Senate continued the robust funding levels from FY 2018 proposing to apportion the funding as follows: • Facilities Replacement and New Construction $18,000,000 • Employee Housing $ 4,494,000 • Facilities Improvement and Repair $ 9,372,000 • Fire Safety Coordination $ 170,000 • Fire Protection $ 3,274,000
Master Plan Development. The House Report continues language from FY 2018 calling for the following master plan to be maintained:
The Bureau is directed to maintain a master plan detailing the location, condition, and function of existing owned and leased facilities relative to location and size of the user populations. The plan shall be used to prioritize facilities replacement and new construction to fill in the largest service gaps first. Regional justice centers that combine functions and serve multiple user populations, while providing for reasonable driving distances for visitation and transport, should be strongly considered.
The Resources Management Construction sub-activities are: Irrigation Project Construction; Engineering and Supervision; Survey and Design; Federal Power and Compliance; and Dam Projects.
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s proposed cuts and instead propose near level funding following the substantial increases that were provided in FY 2018. The Senate also includes an additional $5 million for Irrigation Projects and proposes the following funding breakdown, including for projects authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act), Public Law 114-322. The Senate Report states:
Resources management receives a total of $72,231,000 and includes: $29,695,000 for irrigation projects, with at least $10,000,000 for projects authorized by the WIIN Act, $38,265,000 for dam projects and $1,016,000 for survey and design, $2,605,000 for engineering and supervision, and $650,000 for Federal power compliance. The Committee expects the funds designated for WIIN Act activities will be deposited into the Indian Irrigation Fund and fund those projects authorized by Public Law 114–322.
Dam Safety Classification. The Senate Report provides the following direction: The Committee continues the increases for dam safety and is concerned there is an unknown number of dams on reservations that have not received a hazard classification and that the current review process is behind schedule resulting in delays for dams to receive a comprehensive review. The Committee strongly encourages the Bureau to begin the work on the dams and report back to the Committee on the best way to effectively quantify the potential pool of dams on reservations in need of a review and/or classification.
OTHER PROGRAM CONSTRUCTION/ GENERAL ADMINISTRATION
The Other Program Construction sub-activities are: Telecommunications Improvement and Repair; Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair; and Construction Program Management.
The House Report provides the following direction:
Other Program Construction.—The recommendation includes $13,694,000 for other construction. The Fort Peck Water System is funded at $2,247,000 as requested. There is a $300,000 program increase to improve officer safety by eliminating radio communications dead zones.
The Senate Report provides the following direction:
General administration or other Program Construction receives $13,628,000 and includes $1,119,000 for telecommunications repair, and $8,590,000 for construction program management with increases in order to fully fund the Ft. Peck water system, and $3,919,000 for facilities improvement and repair.
INDIAN LAND AND WATER CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS PAYMENTS TO INDIANS
(For funding levels by individual settlements, see attached budget charts from p. 180-181 of the House Report and p. 132-133 of the Senate Report).
The Administration, when drafting their FY 2019 request, indicated that it would ultimately be based on final FY 2018 appropriations. However, at that time, the federal government was operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) so the Administration estimated an annualized rate of $44,739,000 for this account. Ultimately, the FY 2018 Omnibus provided a higher funding total as well as settlement-level specificity. The House and Senate Reports provide the following explanation and the attached charts provide recommended amounts by settlement.
The House Report recommends:
The Committee recommends $50,057,000 for Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements and Miscellaneous Payments to Indians. The recommended level enables Indian Affairs to make a balloon payment in the final year of any settlement agreement if needed to complete the Federal obligation. The Navajo Water Resources Development Trust Fund project and the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project will be completed in fiscal year 2019. A detailed table of funding recommendations below the account level is provided at the end of this report.
The Senate Report recommends:
The bill provides a total appropriation of $55,457,000 for the Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements account which is equal to the enacted level. The Committee appreciates the importance of settling the numerous land and water settlements and directs the Department to submit a spending plan to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act for how it plans to allocate the funds provided by the bill for the specific settlements detailed in the budget request. The Committee recommendation notes that sufficient funding has been provided to complete required payments for the Navajo Trust Fund and the Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project in fiscal year 2019.
This program guarantees or insures loans covering up to 90 percent of outstanding loan principal to Indian tribes, tribal members, or for profit and not-for-profit businesses at least 51% Indian owned. The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s requested cut to loan subsidies. The Senate proposes an increase just to cover fixed costs. The House proposes a $10 million increase, described as follows in Report language: The increase includes fixed costs and the transfer of $10,000,000 from the Tribal grant program in the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The transfer to this account will significantly increase the number of eligible Tribes and generate an additional $200,000,000 in private sector loans to finance business, economic, energy and infrastructure projects in Indian Country. The Indian Guaranteed Loan Program is the most effective Federal program tailored to facilitating greater access to private capital for Indian Tribes and Indian-owned economic enterprises.
The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation (ONHIR) was created as a result of the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act of 1974, Public Law 93–531. The Office is charged with planning and conducting relocation activities associated with the settlement of land disputes between the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.
For FY 2019, the Administration requested a funding cut for the Office “… to facilitate and expedite resettlement activities, and bring about the closure of the Office.” Part of this request would have involved transferring $3 million to the Office of Special Trustee (OST) with OST then assuming responsibility for development of a detailed transition plan for a phased closure of ONHIR as well as the transfer the land management activities currently conducted by ONHIR to a new office within OST.
Originally, the House bill concurred with the Administration’s request to transfer the $3 million to OST; however, Rep. O’Hallen (D-AZ) successfully secured a floor amendment returning the $3 million to ONHIR. The House and Senate now recommend similar amounts.
The Senate Report explains:
The Committee supports efforts to close the Office because its primary relocation function has reached its conclusion.
The Committee recommends $7,400,000 for the ONHIR. The Committee does not approve the budget request to fund relocation activities through the Office of Special Trustee [OST] under this heading without a more complete explanation on plans to transfer outstanding services, records, and rangeland improvement activities to other Federal Government agencies. The Committee continues to be concerned about the lack of meaningful Tribal consultation on matters related to the closure and transition and directs the ONHIR to work with the OST and Bureau of Indian Affairs to immediately facilitate Tribal consultation with affected Tribes. The Committee urges the ONHIR to work with the appropriate congressional authorizing committee to develop legislation as necessary to affect its closure upon consultation.
We note, however, that the Navajo Nation sharply disagrees with the assertion that the Office’s primary relocation function has reached its conclusion, pointing to Navajo members still in the appeals process and a lack of infrastructure development.
The House and Senate rejected the Administration’s request to cut Grants-in-Aid to Tribes. The Administration had suggested that this would “allow the NPS to focus resources on park and program operations.”
NATIONAL RECREATION AND PRESERVATION
National Recreation and Preservation is found under a different part of the National Park Service budget than Historic Preservation. The House and Senate rejected the Administration proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out National Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) grants which assist Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs) in documenting and repatriating cultural items and assists museums and federal agencies in fulfilling their responsibilities to consult with tribes and NHOs for the purposes of NAGPRA compliance. Under National Recreation and Preservation the House proposes level funding but the Senate proposes another increase for the Cultural Programs sub-activity to increase support for programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development. The Senate Report states: Cultural Programs.—The Committee recommends $25,562,000 for cultural programs, an increase of $500,000 above the enacted level. The increase above the enacted level is provided pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 4451(b) for grants to nonprofit organizations or institutions for the purpose of supporting programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development at a total program level of $1,000,000 as provided in the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. This program is a good example of a multi-state, multi-organizational collaboration as envisioned under the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Culture and Art Development Act. (The FY 2018 Explanatory Statement had “… direct[ed] the Department to consider funding the Northwest Coast arts program as outlined by the memorandum of agreement between the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Sealaska Heritage Institute.”)
DEPARTMENTAL OFFICES: OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY [INTERIOR] DEPARTMENTAL OPERATIONS
Department of Interior Reorganization. The House and Senate Reports emphasize the importance of tribal consultation and provide the following direction to Secretary of Interior regarding efforts to reorganize the Department. We also note that the both the House-passed and the Senate-passed versions of HR 6147 contain bill language found under TITLE VI—GENERAL PROVISIONS—THIS ACT, Sec. 608 which would restrict the Executive Branch from obligating or expending any funds to reorganize “any agency or entity” funded by the bill until specific reports have been received and formal reprograming requests have been approved by both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The bill language would give each agency 60 days from the date of enactment to submit the requested report. The bill language would also reduce the amount appropriated for salaries and expenses by $100,000 per day from any agency that is late providing the report until the report is received.
The House Report states:
State and Tribal Consultation.—The Committee recognizes concerns raised by State and Tribal leaders about the Department’s insufficient level of consultation regarding the Department’s proposed reorganization. The Committee urges the Department to redouble its efforts to consult with State and Tribal leaders, including entering into formal Tribal consultation, and to adjust its reorganization proposal as necessary to meet the Department’s needs while avoiding undue additional burdens on States and Tribes.
The Senate Report states:
Reorganization.—The Committee has provided funds as requested for the Department’s reorganization plan. However, many of the details of this proposal remain unknown. This is in large part because the Department is seeking the input of many stakeholders and has yet to incorporate these recommendations into its final reorganization plan. Given the current lack of specifics relating to the reorganization proposal, the Committee directs the Department to not obligate these funds until the Secretary has submitted a reprogramming in accordance with the procedures outlined in this report that provides greater detail on the reorganization, its impacts on staff, funding, and service delivery, and how these funds will be expended. The Committee has heard from tribal organizations about the need for more robust consultation related to this proposal as well, and therefore expects the Department to meet with these groups and formulate a process for tribal consultation that meets the needs of all stakeholders. The Committee further expects the Department to continue to meet with the committees of jurisdiction, to inform them ahead of forthcoming actions and to respond to their requests for the quantitative analyses and materials associated with this proposal.
National Monument Designations. The House Report provides the following direction: The Department is directed to work collaboratively with interested parties, including but not limited to, the Congress, States, local communities, Tribal governments and others prior to planning, implementing, or making national monument designations.
Chief Standing Bear Trail. The House Report states: The Committee recognizes the importance of Chief Standing Bear as one of America’s earliest civil rights leaders. The Committee supports the work on the State and local level to establish a multi-state trail commemorating his accomplishments and urges the Secretary to assist in these efforts.
Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children. The Senate’s bill was amended on the Senate Floor by Senators Moran (R-KS), Murkowski (R-AK) and Heitkamp (D-ND) to specify that of the amounts provided under of the Office of the Secretary – Departmental Operations, $400,000 is to be made available to the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children that was established by Public Law 114–244.
If we may provide additional information or assistance regarding FY 2019 INDIAN AFFAIRS, OTHER RELATED AGENCIES, or NATIONAL PARK SERVICE appropriations, please contact us at the information below.
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