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 In 1997, Hobbs Straus lawyers assisted the Susanville Indian Rancheria become one of the first tribes in the country to use the provisions of ISDEAA to successfully acquire Department of Army surplus property in trust under the Base Realignment and Closure Act.

General Memorandum 12-092

General Memorandum 12-092
Status of FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations

In this Memorandum we report on the status of FY 2013 appropriations of particular interest to tribal governments and tribal colleges in the Department of Agriculture. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have marked up their respective Agriculture and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (HR 5073, H. Rpt. 112-542; S 2375, S. Rpt. 112-163). The Committee bills and reports are available at http://appropriations.house.gov/ and at http://appropriations.senate.gov.

The House bill may be scheduled for a floor vote prior to the August congressional recess, but at this point the Senate Committee-reported bill is not considered likely to come to the floor for a vote. The two houses have differing discretionary spending caps for the Agriculture bill – $19.4 billion for the House and $20.8 billion for the Senate bill. In addition to having differing spending caps, there are significant differences between the two houses over funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (whose duties include implementation of the 2010 Dodd-Frank banking overhaul statute), the Food for Peace program, and Broadband loans. There are also disputes over policies that deem automatic eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Current expectations are that Congress will not enact FY 2013 funding bills prior to the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1) and that funding will be provided under a Continuing Resolution (CR) lasting past the November election and possibly into the next Congress. We report on pending FY 2013 appropriations bills as they may have an effect on a CR and/or on final funding bills.

Office of Tribal Relations

FY 2012 Enacted $448,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $498,000
FY 2013 House Committee $439,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $498,000

Senate bill language states that the purpose of this new office, which is located in the Office of the Secretary, is "to support communications and consultation activities with Federally Recognized Tribes, as well as other requirements established by law."

The Senate Committee states with regard to the Office of Tribal Relations:
The Office of Tribal Relations will interact with USDA program agencies to understand pending actions that may affect Indian tribes. This interaction and programmatic knowledge will improve USDA's ability to conduct consultation activities, thereby better addressing the needs of USDA tribal constituents and improving relationships. (S.Rpt. 112-163, pp. 7-8)

Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program

FY 2012 Enacted $3,039,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $3,039,000
FY 2013 House Committee $2,956,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $3,039,000

Under the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program, state land grant universities provide education and resources for tribes in areas including range management, wildlife and fisheries enhancement and education for adults and youth.

Tribal Colleges Extension Services

FY 2012 Enacted $4,312,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $4,312,000
FY 2013 House Committee $4,195,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $4,312,000

Native American Institutions Endowment Fund (tribal colleges)

FY 2012 Enacted $11,880,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $11,880,000
FY 2013 House Committee $11,642,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $11,880,000

The Senate Committee explains:
The Native American Institutions Endowment Fund authorized by Public Law 103-382, the Equity in Educational Land Grant Status Act, provides an endowment for the 1994 land-grant institutions (34 tribally controlled colleges). This program will enhance educational opportunity for Native Americans by building educational capacity at these institutions in the areas of student recruitment and retention, curricula development, faculty preparation, instruction delivery systems, and scientific instrumentation for teaching. Income funds are also available for facility renovation, repair, construction, and maintenance. On the termination of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall withdraw the income from the endowment fund for the fiscal year, and after making adjustments for the cost of administering the endowment fund, distribute the adjusted income as follows: 60 percent of the adjusted income from these funds shall be distributed among the 1994 land-grant institutions on a pro rata basis, the proportionate share being based on the Indian student count; and 40 percent of the adjusted income shall be distributed in equal shares to the 1994 land-grant institutions. (S.Rpt. 112-163, p. 25)

1994 Institutions Equity Grants (tribal colleges)

FY 2012 Enacted $3,335,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $3,335,000
FY 2013 House Committee $3,268,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $3,335,000

1994 Institution Research Initiative (tribal colleges)

FY 2012 Enacted $1,801,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $1,801,000
FY 2013 House Committee $1,764,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $1,801,000

Every two years the tribal colleges compete for these funds.

Community Facility Grants for Tribal Colleges and Universities

FY 2012 Enacted $3,369,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $4,000,000
FY 2013 House Committee $3,302,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $3,369,000

The tribal colleges' community facilities grants are part of the Rural Community Facilities Program for which the House Committee recommended $21.9 million and the Senate Committee $28.4 million for subsides and grants. There are, in addition, Community Facility direct loans for which the House Committee recommended $2.2 billion and the Senate Committee $2 billion.

Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian-Serving Higher Education Institutions

FY 2012 Enacted $3,194,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $3,194,000
FY 2013 House Committee $3,130,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $3,194,000

House and Senate bill language provides that the funds are to be divided equally between Hawaii and Alaska.

Rural Business Program Subsidy and Grants

FY 2012 Enacted $74,809,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $86,159,000
FY 2013 House Committee $65,341,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $85,904,000

Within the total, the House Committee would provide $3.9 million and the Senate Committee $4 million for business grants to federally recognized tribes. Within those amounts the House bill would provide $245,000 "for transportation technical assistance" while the Senate Committee would provide $250,000 to be used "to implement an American Indian and Alaska Native passenger transportation development and assistance initiative." (S Rpt. 112-163, p. 55)

Among the programs funded under this account are the Rural Business Enterprise Grants ($20 million in the House bill; $24.3 million in the Senate bill) and the Rural Business Opportunity Grants (no funding in the House bill; $2.25 million in the Senate bill). In FY 2011 there were 13 awards to tribes totaling $1.05 million under the Rural Business Opportunity program and 32 awards to tribes totaling $3.2 million under the Rural Business Enterprise program.

Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Subsidy and Grants

FY 2012 Enacted $513,000,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $495,700,000
FY 2013 House Committee $484,499,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $522,481,000

Within the total, the House Committee would provide $59.5 million and the Senate $66.5 million for water and waste disposal systems grants for Native Americans, including Native Alaskans, the Colonias, and residents of Hawaiian Homelands. Also included would be $800,000 for technical assistance in the Senate bill and $784,000 in the House bill for rural water systems in tribal communities. The House Committee would provide $14.7 million and the Senate Committee $15 million for a circuit rider program to provide technical assistance for rural water systems.

Indian Tribal Land Acquisition Loans

FY 2012 Enacted $2,000,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $2,000,000
FY 2013 House Committee $2,000,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $2,000,000

Indian Highly Fractionated Land Loan Subsidy

FY 2012 Enacted $193,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $173,000
FY 2013 House Committee $173,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $173,000

A subsidy of $173,000 will support $10 million in loans to individual Indians to purchase highly fractionated parcels of land.

Rural Development Direct Loan Fund Subsidy

FY 2012 Enacted $6,000,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $6,052,000
FY 2013 House Committee $5,674,000
FY 2014 Senate Committee $6,052,000

The House bill would reserve $857,000 and the Senate bill $900,000 of these funds for federally recognized tribes.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
(funding total includes the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations)

FY 2012 Enacted $80.4 billion
FY 2013 Admin. Request $82.0 billion
FY 2013 House Committee $80.0 billion
FY 2013 Senate Committee $80.0 billion

It is estimated that 24 percent of the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population nationally utilizes SNAP (formerly called the Food Stamp program). This compares to 13 percent of the U.S. population receiving SNAP benefits. The SNAP is much more heavily utilized among AI/ANs than is the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) which provides commodities and is limited to households on or near Indian reservations. For example, in 2010, the number of AI/AN households who participated in SNAP was 197,932, whereas there were 84,577 AI/AN individuals participating in the FDPIR. The participation numbers in the FIPIR has been declining in recent years.

Only one tribe – Port Gamble S'Klallam – administers the SNAP (and that is under a DHHS waiver).

Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. Within the House Committee bill total is $100,156,000 for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. The Senate Committee does not break out an amount for FDPIR. The House and Senate bills would provide that $998,000 may be used "to provide nutrition education services to state agencies and Federally recognized tribes participating in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations."

The Senate Committee states with regard to the purchase of bison for the FDPIR:
The Committee encourages the Secretary to continue the purchase of bison from producer-owned and Native American owned cooperatives for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. Although funding is not provided specifically for bison purchase, historically these purchases have been important for the Native American population both economically and nutritionally. (S. Rpt. 112-163, p. 67)
The Farm Bill (PL 110-246) allows the Secretary of Agriculture to authorize tribes to administer the commodities program if he determines that a tribal organization "is capable of effectively and efficiently administering a distribution … ." The Secretary is also authorized to pay the administrative expenses associated with a tribe or state administering the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations Program. Currently members of 276 tribes receive FDPIR benefits through 100 tribal organizations and five state agencies.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

FY 2012 Enacted $6.6 billion
FY 2013 Admin. Request $7.0 billion
FY 2013 House Committee $6.9 billion
FY 2013 Senate Committee $7.0 billion

Currently 34 tribal organizations administer the WIC program. Nationally about 211,000 WIC recipients identify themselves as AI/AN alone or as AI/AN with an additional designation.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine – Grants

FY 2012 Enacted $21.0 million
FY 2013 Admin. Request $24.9 million
FY 2013 House Committee $15.0 million
FY 2014 Senate Committee $24.9 million

The Senate Committee would provide within the total $3 million for telemedicine and distance learning grants for health needs in the Mississippi River Delta area and $3 million for noncommercial educational broadcast stations that serve rural areas to convert from analog to digital operations.
Broadband Telecommunications – Loan authorization

FY 2012 Enacted $212,014,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $ 94,139,000
FY 2013 House Committee $ 21,119,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $ 63,358,000

Broadband Telecommunications – Loan subsidies

FY 2012 Enacted $6,000,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $8,915,000
FY 2013 House Committee $2,000,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $6,000,000

The Senate Committee states that broadband funds are intended "to promote broadband availability in those areas where there is not otherwise a business case for private investment in a broadband network. The Committee encourages RUS [Rural Utilities Service] to focus expenditures on projects that bring broadband service to currently un-served households." (S. Rpt. 112-163, p. 61)

Broadband Telecommunications – Grants

FY 2012 Enacted $10,372,000
FY 2013 Admin. Request $13,379,000
FY 2013 House Committee $10,165,000
FY 2013 Senate Committee $10,372,000

The Senate Committee notes that funds are for broadband transmission and local dial-up internet services for rural areas.

Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding FY 2013 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture.

# # #

Inquiries may be directed to:
Karen Funk (kfunk@hobbsstraus.com)

Available Documents for Download ( any referenced attachments are included in download )


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