National Congress of American Indians government shutdown update

Press Pool

The President and Congress must fund tribal programs immediately says NCAI

News Release

National Congress of American Indians

Partial Government Shutdown: A stalemate over the President's proposal to fund a border wall has led to a partial government shutdown for nine departments (including the Department of the Interior) and several agencies. Now in its 13th day, the shutdown affects the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service and many other departments that provide services to tribal nations. A list of contingency plans is linked after the summary for the Bureaus of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Education (BIE) and the Indian Health Service (IHS).

  • NCAI encourages tribal leaders to contact their members of Congress to urge them to pass new spending bills to reopen federal agencies.
  • Share with them the impact the shutdown is having on the federal government's treaty and trust obligations to tribal nations, (as funded in the federal budget).

Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education: The contingency plans identify Excepted Personnel in the following three categories: Protection of Human Life (law enforcement), Protection of Federal Property, and Preventing Harm. These personnel are the minimum required to enable the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs (ASIA), BIA, and BIE to provide vital services, exercise civil authority, and maintain the safety of its employees and the general public. Of the more than 4,000 BIA employees, more than half would be subject to furlough. Of the 201 ASIA employees, 120 would be subject to furlough. Funding for BIE K-12 school programs are forward funded. Bureau of Indian Education funds are appropriated in the prior year. Therefore, the 2018-2019 K-12 school year was funded in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriation bill and funding is available to support continued instructional and related educational services in FY 2019.

​Links to Plans: DOI Overall

Indian Health Service

Activities that would continue: IHS would continue to provide direct clinical health care services as well as referrals for contracted services that cannot be provided through IHS clinics.

Activities that would not continue: IHS could only perform national policy development and issuance, oversight, and other functions necessary to meet the immediate needs of patients, medical staff, and medical facilities. IHS would be unable to provide the majority of funds to tribal and urban Indian health programs.

Link: Department of Health and Human Services FY 2019 Contingency Staffing Plan

Other Departments and Agencies: See some of the contingency plans that may have programs or services affecting tribal nations below.

Department of Justice

Housing and Urban Development

Department of Transportation

Environmental Protection Agency

Small Business Administration

Smithsonian Institution

Commission on Civil Rights

Others are posted on the White House website: contingency plans

The New York Times published an article on January 1 about the impact of the shutdown in Indian Country.

Legislation to End the Partial Shutdown: The partial government shutdown has now extended from the 115th Congress into the 116th Congress. As some of its first business, the House of Representatives plans to hold two votes today (Thursday) that could end the partial government shutdown. The first vote will be on a spending package that includes six of the seven outstanding FY 2019 appropriations bills. The second vote would be on a continuing resolution (CR) for the Department of Homeland Security with funding through February 8. Unfortunately, the Senate is not expected to pass these measures.

The appropriations bills included in the House package include: Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior-Environment; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development through September 30. The package would reopen about 25 percent of the government. The spending bills are based on measures that have passed the Senate or been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support.

The CR for Homeland Security would fund border fencing at $1.3 billion, but does not include the additional $3.7 billion the President is demanding.

Links to the bills and tables are below.

A summary of key tribal programs in the legislative package follows.

Interior-Environment - House Appropriations Committee Democrats have filed legislation to reopen the federal government and fund the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, and other agencies. The legislation is nearly identical to the FY 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 31-0 vote and was adopted by the full Senate on a 92-6 vote.

Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education - BIA/BIE would receive $3.07 billion, an increase of $13 million above the FY 2018 enacted level and $663 million above the President's budget request.

IHS - The IHS would receive $5.77 billion, an increase of $234 million above the FY 2018 enacted level and $348 million above the President's budget request.

Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) - The CJS portion of the Consolidated Appropriations Act that will be taken up in the House largely tracks the CJS appropriations bill that was adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year. Specifically, the bill includes increases over FY 2018 in several key areas including:

  • $167.65 million to improve tribal crime victim services through a 5% set-aside from the Crime Victims Fund administered by the Office for Victims of Crime. This compares to $133.1 million for FY 2018;
  • $50 million for "tribal assistance" through the Office of Justice Programs, which is $15 million more than the $35 million funding level for FY 2018;
  • $7 million for the Tribal Youth Program through the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention - an increase of $2 million over FY 2018;
  • $3 million for the Tribal Access Program. This is the first time the TAP Program would receive a direct appropriation.

Several additional programs would be funded at the same level as FY 18, including:

  • $4 million for implementation of special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction through the Office on Violence Against Women;
  • $1 million for research on violence against Native women; and
  • $500,000 for a national clearinghouse on sexual assault in Indian Country.

Tribal funding at the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, which is aimed at improving tribal law enforcement, including hiring, equipment, training, anti-methamphetamine activities, and anti-opioid activities, would be funded at $27 million-a decrease of $3 million compared to FY 2018 levels.

You can find contact information for your representatives here.


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