- Native Americans
Short Stories on the President's Budget Proposal
Native American Special Budget Update - June 11, 2017
The administration released a detailed budget in late May. The colorful and energy-filled rhetoric about infrastructure, economic development, and simplifying relationships with the federal government turns to grey when the budget numbers are applied.
Tribal leaders have been in Washington for numerous hearings, briefings and roundtables in the last three months; they vividly described the realities affected by federal budget decisions.
Tribal leaders reported dangerous roads, dilapidated schools, inadequate and outdated health centers, and housing that is overcrowded and lacking in basic sanitation and health requirements. Social services are underfunded and unable to meet the needs of communities where the number of youth suicides continues to rise.
The President’s budget proposes to slice deeply into nearly every line item that provides funds for Indian programs, and to cut deeper still into national programs on which many Native Americans rely.
You can download the whole Update here (a .pdf file), or explore the short stories listed below.
What You Do Now Will Make a Difference
Congress is not of one mind on these cuts. Some members and leaders – of both political parties – are expressing anger and sometimes flatly rejecting the proposals we’re seeing here.
The problem is that they’re dealing with a million slices, in every program from health care to space exploration. How will they keep track of what’s important?
You’ll tell them. Your voice, reminding them of what’s important to you (and probably – at their core – to them) will make the difference.
First, we honor our debts – our promises, our trusts. Native people have paid dearly for the basic support they are supposed to receive “forever” – with the lives and the land lost and taken as our ancestors took over this continent.
Secondly, we honor each other – we invest our pooled dollars to build the kind of communities we all want to live in – where no child is hungry, no one dies or is burdened with a treatable disease, everyone has a home, everyone has a future, and we all share a living earth.
Your message to your representative and your senators may be one of the few messages they receive about Indian programs – and that makes your message all the more important.
At the end of each short story below, we’ve identified the appropriations subcommittees that will consider these programs. The members of these subcommittees are listed here by state and district. Check to see where your representative and your senators serve. Now you know how to focus your message.
If no one from your delegation is on any of the relevant committees, write to them anyway about putting people first. They’ll all have to vote on each of the bills coming out of these subcommittees – so everyone’s vote will make a difference.
Short Stories on the Budget:
Source Note: These short stories compare the appropriations proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget with appropriations passed by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act. For the exceptionally curious, a spreadsheet is available here.