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Welcome to FCNL’s Native American Legislative Update! NALU is a monthly newsletter about FCNL’s Native American policy advocacy and ways for you to engage members of Congress.

Lawmakers Discuss Funding Considerations for Tribal Programs 

For lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the spring session is focused heavily on the president’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. Dozens of congressional hearings have been held in recent weeks by both House and Senate appropriations subcommittees (which provide annual funding for federal agencies and departments) and authorizing committees (which write the laws that federal agencies implement using those annual appropriations). 

Over the past two months, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has testified before the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittees and the House Committee on Natural Resources to answer lawmakers’ questions about the FY 2024 budget request. At these hearings, Haaland has repeatedly noted that the FY 2024 budget request continues the Biden administration’s commitment to honor the nation’s trust and treaty responsibilities and strengthen the federal government’s relationships with tribal nations.   

The FY 2024 budget request proposes an additional $690 million over current levels for Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) programs. Critically, it would continue to support three programs that tribal advocates have been following closely:  

  • $16.5 million to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples.
  • $7 million to continue investigating the legacy of federal Indian boarding schools.
  • $34 million to revitalize Native languages. 

In response to questions about the potential impact of House Republicans’ proposal to cut FY 2024 funding back to FY 2022 levels, Haaland told lawmakers that BIA funding currently supports roughly 7,000 tribal law enforcement personnel. The proposal from House Republicans could lead to a reduction of more than 1,500 officers. 

House Committee Holds Hearing on Reauthorizing Special Diabetes Program for Indians 

The Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) was established by Congress in 1997 in response to the growing diabetes epidemic in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.  This grant program currently provides $150 million annually across 301 Indian health programs in 35 states for diabetes prevention and treatment services.   

These grants achieved a 5.5% decrease in the prevalence of diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives between 2013 and 2017. The program currently serves nearly 780,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives each year—but its authorization is set to expire on Sept. 30. 

On April 19, a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on several health-related bills, including the Special Diabetes Program for Indians Reauthorization Act of 2023 (H.R. 2547). The bill, led by Reps. Tom Cole (OK-4) and Raul Ruiz (CA-25), would reauthorize SDPI at $150 million through FY 2028. 

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Cindy Darcy

Cindy Darcy

Consultant, Native American Policy

Cindy Darcy’s 40-plus years serving as an advocate for American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments in the public policy arena began at FCNL.