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General Memorandum 17-044

General Memorandum 17-044
House Appropriations Committee FY 2018 Indian Affairs Recommendations

House Appropriations Committee FY 2018 Indian Affairs Recommendations

In this Memorandum we report on the House Appropriations Committee recommendations for FY 2018 funding for Indian Affairs (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 bill (HR 3354). The report accompanying the bill is H. Rept. 115-238.

Prior to departing for the annual August Recess, the House Appropriations Committee marked up all twelve FY 2018 appropriations bills even though Congress has not yet adopted a Budget Resolution, which sets the spending caps for the fiscal year. Thus, adjustments may need to be made later in the year. House Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Subcommittee Chairman Calvert (R-CA) stated with regard to a Budget Resolution that he hopes that we can have a "broader deal" as we move forward and re-visit some of the issues in the bill.

During the August Recess, the House Rules Committee announced that they have used HR 3354 to package together eight of the twelve appropriations bills into a "minibus". Interior, Environment and Related Agencies is now the first division of that bill, with each subsequent appropriations bill added on as its own division. We compared the Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service sections from the version of the bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee with the version of the bill posted by the House Rules Committee. We found only two changes: (1) Under Indian Affairs, the amount recommended for the Operation of Indian Programs is increased by $1.3 million; and (2) under Indian Affairs, the Tohono O'odham Nation is authorized to accept road funding from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. There were no changes to the Indian Health Service section. (See our General Memorandum 17-039 regarding the House Committee recommendations for the FY 2018 IHS budget.)

When Congress returns the week of September 4, the House Rules Committee will convene to craft a structured rule to govern the consideration of the 8-bill Minibus on the House Floor. Part of this rule will include a provision to combine this 8-bill Minibus with the 4-bill "Security Minibus" that the House had already passed before the August Recess. As of this writing, we have yet to see a Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies FY 2018 bill. In fact, many Senate appropriations bills have yet to be released. Because the end of the 2017 fiscal year is September 30, there will be little time between then and when Congress returns to come to a detailed agreement on the terms and spending levels for FY 2018. It is widely reported that the most likely outcome will be that Congress enacts a Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue FY 2017 terms and spending levels into part of FY 2018 until a broader deal is reached sometime before they depart for a holiday break in December.

INDIAN AFFAIRS (IA) OVERVIEW

For FY 2018, the House Appropriations Committee in a bipartisan fashion recommended $2.8 billion for Indian Affairs, essentially rejecting the Administration's proposed $371.7 million in cuts and instead recommending a modest $11 million increase above FY 2017. In keeping with prior years, following statement of values was included in the House Report:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs (together, ‘‘Indian Affairs’’) provide services directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts to a service population of more than 1.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) who are enrolled members of 567 federally recognized Tribes in the 48 contiguous United States and Alaska. While the role of the organization has changed significantly in the last four decades in response to a greater emphasis on Indian self-determination, Tribes still look to Indian Affairs for a broad spectrum of services. Almost 85 percent of all appropriations are expended at the local level, and over 62 percent of appropriations provided directly to Tribes and Tribal organizations through grants, contracts, and compacts. In preparation for the fiscal year 2018 appropriation bill, the Subcommittee held two days of hearings and received testimony from over 75 witnesses on a variety of topics pertaining to AI/AN 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].

Request for Indian Reorganization Act – Carcieri Fix Not Included. Each fiscal year from FY 2011 to FY 2017, the Obama Administration requested and Congress continued to not provide language which would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009 decision that the Secretary of the Interior does not have authority to take land into trust for tribes under federal jurisdiction after 1934. The Trump Administration did not request this Carcieri Fix language, nor does the House bill provide it.

Authorization for the Tohono O’odham Nation to Accept Road Funding From U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The updated version of the House's bill now includes the following provision, "Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may accept transfers of funds from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to supplement any other funding available for reconstruction or repair of roads on the Tohono O'odham Nation." The Nation had raised this issue in Congressional testimony and in other forums.

OPERATION OF INDIAN PROGRAMS

FY 2017 Enacted $2,339,346,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $2,082,506,000
FY 2018 House Committee $2,360,911,000
FY 2018 House Rules 8-Bill Minibus $2,362,211,000*

Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) budget includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

The House Report directs, "Indian Affairs is expected to execute its budget in accordance with the justification submitted to the Congress, except as otherwise directed below and summarized in the table at the end of this report."

Fixed Costs and Transfers. From within this total, the Administration requests $17.1 million for fixed cost increases as well as a number of transfers between accounts.
The House Report confirms that, "The recommendation includes all requested fixed costs and transfers."

*$1.3 Million Increase. The House Rules Committee print of the 8-Bill Minibus increases the amount recommended for Operation of Indian Programs by $1.3 million above the House Appropriations Committee recommendations; however, it does not detail which accounts within OIP that increase would be directed to. Thus, some amounts within OIP will be slightly higher than reported below.

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS

FY 2017 Enacted $1,447,833,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,296,134,000 FY 2018 House Committee $1,458,999,000

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.

TRIBAL GOVERNMENT

FY 2017 Enacted $308,815,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $290,307,000
FY 2018 House Committee $312,600,000

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.

The House Committee rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out funding for the Small and Needy Tribes sub-activity. The Committee instead recommended that all programs continue to operate at FY 2017 enacted levels, with the following exceptions:

• The Tribal Government Program Oversight sub-activity would be funded at $8,014,000, as requested by the Administration (a reduction of $243,000 from FY 2017); and
• The Road Maintenance sub-activity would be funded at $31,653,000, an increase of $1,346,000 above FY 2017. Further, the House Report specified that, "Not less than $1,000,000 must be used to improve the condition of gravel roads and bridges used by school buses transporting students."

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. The Administration proposed $160,000 (level funding) to assist the newly-recognized Pamunkey Tribe.

HUMAN SERVICES

FY 2017 Enacted $159,161,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,949,000
FY 2018 House Committee $159,540,000

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.

The House Committee 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. Instead, the House Report affirmed, "The Committee continues to recognize the importance of providing culturally-appropriate services with the goals of empowering individuals and families through health promotion, family stability, and strengthening Tribal communities as a whole. Indian Affairs is urged to make services available to law enforcement officers, in coordination with the Indian Health Service."

TRUST–NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

FY 2017 Enacted $200,992,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $165,462,000
FY 2018 House Committee $200,340,000

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.

The House Committee largely 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 Committee recommended that the Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities be funded at close to FY 2017 enacted levels. The exception is that they concurred with the Administration's proposed $1.1 million increase for the Irrigation Operation and Maintenance sub-activity. As the Administration explained, this increase would be directed towards the Operations and Maintenance for the Gallegos Pumping Plant because in FY 2016, the responsibility for the plant was transferred from the Bureau of Reclamation to the BIA without any accompanying funds.

The House Report specified that of the $10,581,000 the Committee recommended for the Water Resources sub-activity, $390,000 is to continue the Seminole and Miccosukee water study and that of the $15,260,000 recommended for the Wildlife and Parks sub-activity, $9,933,000 is for Projects.

Resiliency. The House Report directs:

The Committee supports the Bureau of Indian Affairs' efforts to address the resiliency needs of 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. 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 wildland fire, insect and disease infestation, or other threats from adjacent Federal lands, as authorized by law.

TRUST–REAL ESTATE SERVICES

FY 2017 Enacted $123,092,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $112,046,000
FY 2018 House Committee $126,708,000

The Trust–Real Estate Services sub-activities are: Trust Services; Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program; 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 Committee largely rejected the Administration's proposed cuts including the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Alaska Native Programs and Litigation Support/Attorney Fees sub-activities. The House Committee instead recommended that the Trust– Real Estate Services sub-activities be funded at close to FY 2017 enacted levels. The exceptions are that they:

• Concurred with the Administration's proposed cut to Central Oversight, recommending a total of $3,160,000; and
• Recommended a $500,000 program increase to each of the following sub-activities for a total of: $14,774,000 for Land Title and Records Offices, $2,444,000 for Land Records Improvement—Regional, and $10,977,000 for Regional Oversight.

Title Conveyances. The House Report directs:

The Committee directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to have no outstanding title conveyance requests older than 12 months, including those who have been initially rejected by the Land Titles and Record Offices for insufficient or incorrect documentation in TAAMS, by September, 2018. The Committee expects an update on the status of their outstanding conveyances by September, 2018 and a report on what the BIA will be changing in their operations policy to ensure these backlogs and documentation related rejections do not occur in the future.

Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. The House Report directs:
The Committee directs the Secretary, or his designee, to work with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to identify appropriate lands in Clallam County, WA to satisfy the requirements of Sec. 7 of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 102–495).

PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE

FY 2017 Enacted $385,735,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $349,314,000
FY 2018 House Committee $390,417,000

The Public Safety and Justice sub-activities are: Law Enforcement; Tribal Courts; and Fire Protection.

The House Committee rejected all of the Administration's proposed cuts, including cuts which would have eliminated funding for the Tiwahe Initiative-funded pilot programs focused on reducing recidivism in five targeted Indian communities (funded under the Law Enforcement Special Initiatives program element). Further, the House Committee recommended increases above FY 2017 for the following program elements, for a level of:

• $98,056,000 for Detention/Corrections;
• $11,000,000 for Law Enforcement Special Initiatives (with all of the increase directed towards hiring "additional drug enforcement agents to assist Tribes in the fight against drugs, particularly opioids"); and
• $6,530,000 for Law Enforcement Program Management.

Educational and Health-Related Services for Individuals in Tribal Detention Centers Considered Allowable Costs. The Committee continued language from the FY 2017 House Report, 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.

COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

FY 2017 Enacted $41,844,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $39,464,000
FY 2018 House Committee $45,447,000

The Community and Economic Development sub-activities are: Job Placement and Training; Economic Development; Minerals and Mining; and Community Development Oversight.

The House Committee rejected all of the Administration's proposed cuts. Further, the House Committee recommended a $3.4 million program increase for Community Development Central Oversight sub-activity "to implement the Native American Tourism Improvement and Visitor Experience Act of 2016 (NATIVE Act), including via cooperative agreements with Tribes or Tribal organizations."

Minerals and Mining including the Indian Energy Service Center. This sub-activity promotes and provides technical assistance for the development of renewable energy, conventional energy, and mineral resources. It also funds the Indian Energy Service Center, which Congress initially funded in FY 2016. The Center is to be tasked with expediting leasing, permitting, and reporting on conventional and renewable energy on Indian lands. For FY 2017, both the House and Senate report language pushed the Department of Interior to get the Energy Service Center up and running, requesting a report on the status of the Center and directing the Department of Interior to submit a budget request for FY 2018 to fund the next phase of the Center. For FY 2018, the Administration proposed to shield the Minerals and Mining sub-activity from the most onerous cuts, specifically protecting the funding for the Indian Energy Service Center. The House Committee recommended no cuts to Minerals and Mining sub-activity and directed Administration to submit a budget request for FY 2019 for the next phase of the Service Center.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

FY 2017 Enacted $228,824,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $215,592,000
FY 2018 House Committee $223,947,000

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 House Committee rejected the majority of the Administration's proposed cuts. These cuts had largely been proposed in the form of staffing cuts—73 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to be precise. Further, the House Committee recommended increases above FY 2017 for the following program elements, for a level of:

• $15,119,000 for Executive Direction Tribal Priority Allocations;
• $12,866,000 for Administrative Services Tribal Priority Allocations;
• $2,240,000 for Regional Safety Management;
• $44,782,000 for Information Resources Technology; and
• $4,229,000 for Regional Facilities Management

Health and Safety Inspections of BIE Schools. The House Report directs:
Indian Affairs is directed to complete annual health and safety inspections of all BIE system facilities, and to submit quarterly updates on the status of such inspections to the Committee. The Committee is deeply disappointed by continued GAO reports of shortcomings and delays in school safety inspections and repairs. Self-determination does not absolve the Federal government of the responsibility to inspect and repair buildings it owns. The Bureau is urged to exercise its authority to reassume the operation of federally-owned but tribally-operated schools when necessary.

BUREAU OF INDIAN EDUCATION

FY 2017 Enacted $891,513,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $786,372,000
FY 2018 House Committee $901,912,000

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 Committee rejected the Administration's proposal to cut $105.1 million from the BIE's budget. Further, the House Committee specified that: (1) Tribal Grant Support Costs will continue to be fully funded, and (2) a one-time increase is provided to ensure that all remaining tribal colleges and universities (including those operated by the BIE) can transition to a school year (forward funded) cycle.

Implementation of the BIE Transformation and GAO Recommendations.
The Administration describes the status of the BIE transformation as follows:

The BIE is currently in the process of reorganizing. Phase I involved the realignment of the internal organization of BIE from a regional basis to a structure based on the types of schools serviced; namely, (1) schools in the Navajo Nation, (2) tribally-controlled schools, and (3) BIE-operated schools. Phase I also replaced the Education Line Offices with Education Resource Centers (ERCs) which will house School Solutions Teams. The BIE began implementing Phase I of the reorganization in early 2016 after Congress issued a "notice of no objection" to the BIE. Phase II, to be implemented in 2017, involves a realignment of support operations within Indian Affairs including, contracting, IT, and facilities functions to BIE and includes an expansion of the School Support Solutions Teams to include school operations staff. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-10)
The House Report provides the following direction:

Indian education remains among the Committee's top priorities because it is a fundamental trust responsibility and because elementary and secondary students in particular have fallen far behind their peers for reasons now well documented by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Education, and others. The BIE system is undergoing a major transformation in direct response to these reports, in order to meet the changing needs of schools now that most schools are tribally-run, and in order to improve accountability. With the concurrence of elected Tribal leaders and major interTribal organizations, the Committee continues to support this transformation. All of the education-related responsibilities under Indian Affairs, including procurement, human resources, budget and finance, and BIE facilities operations, maintenance, and inspections, should be consolidated under the BIE, which should be led by an experienced and proven superintendent selected from a pool of qualified candidates inside and outside the BIE system.

The Committee remains concerned about recent GAO reports detailing problems within the K–12 Indian education system at the Department of the Interior, in particular as they pertain to organizational structure, accountability, finance, health and safety, and ultimately student performance. As the Department takes steps to reform the system, the Secretary is reminded that future support from Congress will continue to be based in large part upon successful implementation of GAO report recommendations. In particular, 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 fiscal year 2019 budget request, and to submit to the Committees on Appropriations a corresponding updated workforce plan. Consistent with GAO testimonies 15–389T, 15–539T, 15–597T, and any subsequent reports, the Secretary is urged to personally oversee immediate actions necessary to ensure the continued health and safety of students and employees at BIE schools and facilities.

Inter-Agency Coordination to Serve Native Children. The House Report urges, "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."

Limitations on New Schools and the Expansion of Grades, Charter Schools, Satellite Locations and BIE-funded Schools in Alaska. The Administration requested the continuation of this language from prior years. The House Committee however, proposed one change. The House proposed to modify the restriction on BIE funds being used to support expanded grades for any school or dormitory beyond its current grade structure. Currently, the law allows for this restriction to be waived only under certain defined conditions and only for one additional grade to be added. The House Committee proposed to continue these conditions but delete the provision restricting any such expansion to one additional grade.
The House Report explains this proposed change and also clarifies how the restrictions on charter schools and satellite locations should be interpreted:

The recommendation modifies bill language limiting the expansion of grades and schools in the BIE system, including charter schools. 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 modification removes the grade expansion limitation of one grade.

The recommendation continues bill 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.

Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)

FY 2017 Enacted $575,155,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $520,044,000
FY 2018 House Committee $578,374,000

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 2018 for these programs will become available for obligation on July 1, 2018, for SY 2018-2019.

The House Committee completely rejected the Administration's proposal to cut $58 million from the forward funded Elementary and Secondary Programs. Further, the House Committee recommended a $2 million increase for ISEP Formula Funds and slight increases for Tribal Grant Support Costs, Early Childhood Development and Student Transportation.

Native Languages included as Education Program Enhancements. In FY 2017, Congress increased this sub-activity in order to support efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs. The House Committee rejected the Administration's request to cut this program element by more than 50 percent in FY 2018. Further, the House Report affirmed:

The Committee supports efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs and has provided $2,000,000 within education program enhancements 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 compliment, but do not duplicate, existing language immersion programs. The Bureau is also directed to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations within 180 days of enactment of this Act regarding the distribution of these funds and the status of Native language classes and immersion programs offered at Bureau-funded schools.

Tribal Grant Support Costs. Because the Administration's FY 2018 budget request was written before the final FY 2017 Omnibus was enacted, the Administration used FY 2016 numbers as the budget baseline to compare with their FY 2018 request. By this accounting, the $74.3 million requested for Tribal Grant Support Costs in FY 2018 was described by the Administration as an "increase". This, however, failed to account for the fact that in FY 2017 after conferring with the BIE, Congress provided an increase for Tribal Grant Support Costs in order to ensure full funding for all tribally-controlled schools. For FY 2018, the House Committee stated that the $80.1 million that they recommend for Tribal Grant Support Costs is expected to provide full funding.

Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)

FY 2017 Enacted $140,540,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,871,000
FY 2018 House Committee $141,438,000

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.

The House Committee rejected the Administration's request to cut $16.6 million from all of the non-forward funded Elementary and Secondary programs, including the request to zero out the funding for 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.

Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants. The House Committee rejected the Administration's proposed cuts to the Johnson O'Malley (JOM) program but cautioned:
The Committee remains concerned that the distribution of funds is not an accurate reflection of the distribution of students. The Bureau is reminded of the reporting requirement contained in the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.

Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)

FY 2017 Enacted $77,207,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $72,689,000
FY 2018 House Committee $84,196,000

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)).

The House Committee recommended level funding ($69.7 million) for Tribal Colleges and Universities. The House Committee recommended a total of $14.4 million for Tribal Technical Colleges, specifying that this total reflects the $6.9 million internal transfer requested by the Administration from the non-forwarded funded Tribal Technical Colleges line item to the forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges line item. Without taking the $6.9 million internal transfer into account, the remaining $7.5 million, the same as the FY 2017 enacted level for Tribal Technical Colleges.

Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)

FY 2017 Enacted $63,561,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $45,721,000
FY 2018 House Committee $62,650,000

The two post-secondary schools overseen by the BIE are: Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell), and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). The non-forward funded Post Secondary Programs sub-activity also includes: Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements; Tribal Technical Colleges; Scholarships and Adult Education; Special Higher Education Scholarships; and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund.

The House Committee rejected the Administration's proposal to cut $11 million from non-forward funded Post Secondary programs, including the proposal to zero out Special Higher Education Scholarships and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund. The House Committee agreed with the Administration's proposal for a $6.8 million internal transfer from the non-forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges line item to the forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges line item (see above).

Forward Funding Needed for Haskell and SIPI. In FY 2017, Congress "encouraged" the Bureau to forward fund Haskell and SIPI in future budget requests "so that all tribal colleges are on the same funding schedule." For FY 2018, the Administration proposed to cut $2.7 million from Haskell and SIPI and declined to request the one-time funding needed to put them on a forward funded schedule, like all of the other tribal colleges. The House Committee rejected the Administration's proposed cut and recommended a total of $27.8 million for Haskell and SIPI, of which $5.3 million is a one-time forward funding increase. Without taking the one-time the $5.3 million into account, the remaining $22.5 million represents essentially level funding for Haskell and SIPI.

Education Management

FY 2017 Enacted $35,050,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $24,047,000
FY 2018 House Committee $35,254,000

The Education Management sub-activity consists of Education Program Management and Information Technology.

The House Committee rejected the Administration's request to cut $11 million from Education Management and instead provided near level funding: $24.9 million for Education Program Management and $10.2 million for Information Technology.

High-Speed Internet Access for Schools.
The Administration described the status of providing all BIE-funded schools with adequate internet access:

The BIE is committed to supporting its educators by expanding the access of BIE-funded schools to adequate bandwidth. To this end the BIE has actively sought working partnerships with Federal, state, tribal, and private agencies. Over the course of the last year, BIE has worked in close conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission with regard to the E-rate program. Specifically, the BIE increased the bandwidth of 28 of its schools to 10 Mbps per 100 students. The ultimate goal of BIE is to increase the bandwidth of all of its schools to the State Education Technology Directors Association’s (SETDA) standard of 100Mbps per school of 1,000 students. In addition, BIE ordered 77 circuits for its schools with another 71 upgraded circuits also being ordered. Once completed 81 percent of BIE-funded schools will meet the 100 Mbps per 1,000 student school standard. The BIE plans build upon its successes over the past year by continuing to seek out working partnerships with the goal of meeting SETDA minimum standards at all BIE-funded schools. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-29)

The House Report explains:

Without question, high-speed internet access is essential for student success and economic development in modern society. However, the GAO recently identified Tribal internet access as an area of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication (GAO–16–375SP). Indian Affairs is urged to coordinate with larger, existing broadband access programs funded by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS

FY 2017 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $278,000,000)
FY 2018 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
FY 2018 House Committee Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)

The House Committee concurred with the Administration's request that Contract Support Costs (CSC) continue as a 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: $236,600,000) and the Indian Self-Determination Fund ($5,000,000).

General Provisions Continued. The Administration and the House Committee requested that the following general provisions be continued:

Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. __. 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 2018.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2018 Limitation
Sec. __. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2018 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 2018 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.

CONSTRUCTION

FY 2017 Enacted $192,017,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $143,262,000
FY 2018 House Committee $202,213,000

The Construction budget includes: Education Construction; Public Safety and Justice Construction; Resources Management Construction; and Other Program Construction/ General Administration.

The House Committee rejected the Administration's proposal to cut $48.7 million from the overall Construction budget (nearly all of which would have come from the Education Construction budget). Instead, the House Committee recommended a $10.1 million increase for the overall Construction budget.

EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION

FY 2017 Enacted $133,257,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 80,187,000
FY 2018 House Committee $138,245,000

The Education Construction sub-activities are: Replacement School Construction; Replacement Facility Construction; Employee Housing Repair; and Facilities Improvement and Repair.

The House Committee rejected all of the cuts to Education Construction proposed by the Administration for FY 2018, including the Administration's request to zero out funding for out both the Replacement School Construction and Replacement Facility Construction sub-activities. The Committee instead recommended level funding for all sub-activities plus a $5 million increase for Facilities Improvement and Repair. These funds would come at a critical time: construction continues for the remaining schools on the 2004 replacement list and planning and design work are moving forward for schools on the 2016 list. According to the FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, 70 BIE schools are in "good" condition, while 41 are in "fair" condition and 68 are in "poor" condition. Further, the Justification states that there is currently over $770.4 million in deferred maintenance across BIE-funded school facilities and grounds that needs corrective action.

2016 National Review Committee List and Creation of 2019 List. In FY 2017, Congress directed the Administration to provide a plan to allocate the Replacement School Construction and Replacement Facility Construction funds and to create a 2018 replacement list. It appears that so far, the Administration has declined to do so. The House Report once again directs:

The Bureau is directed to submit an allocation plan to the Committee for campus-wide replacement and facilities replacement within 30 days of enactment of this Act.
The Committee recognizes the School Facilities and 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. The BIE should submit a similar list for facilities with the fiscal year 2019 budget request.

National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education. In FY 2017, Congress urged the Administration to include in its FY 2018 budget request a proposal to reconstitute the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education. The Administration declined to do so. The House Report once again urges:

The Committee continues to strongly support innovative financing options to supplement annual appropriations and accelerate repair and replacement of Bureau of Indian Education schools, including through the use of construction bonds, tax credits, and grant programs. The Department is urged to revise and resubmit its proposal to reconstitute the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education, and to include authority for the Fund to facilitate public-private partnership construction projects.

PUBLIC SAFETY & JUSTICE (PS&J) CONSTRUCTION

FY 2017 Enacted $11,306,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $10,416,000
FY 2018 House Committee $11,309,000

The Public Safety & Justice Construction sub-activities are: Facilities Replacement/New Construction; Employee Housing; Facilities Improvement and Repair; Fire Safety Coordination; and Fire Protection.

Joint Venture Demonstration Program. In FY 2017, Congress encouraged the Administration to include in its FY 2018 budget request a legislative proposal for a joint venture demonstration program for regional justice centers. The Administration declined to do so. For FY 2018, the House Committee once again made this request, stating:
The Committee is concerned that Indian Affairs’ focus on alternatives to incarceration has come at a cost to justice facilities construction. Indian Affairs, in coordination with the Department of Justice, is therefore urged to consider including with its fiscal year 2019 budget a legislative proposal for a joint venture demonstration program for regional justice centers, similar to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Justice Center, and modeled after the joint venture program for Indian health facilities.

Radio Tower Dead Zones. The House Report urged, "Indian Affairs is urged to improve officer safety by eliminating radio tower communications dead zones."

RESOURCES MANAGEMENT CONSTRUCTION

FY 2017 Enacted $36,513,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $40,696,000
FY 2018 House Committee $40,696,000

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 Committee concurred with the overall amount requested by the Administration but provided no further details.

Irrigation Project Construction. The Administration proposed a $1.5 million increase for the Irrigation Projects-Rehabilitation program element to address critical outstanding maintenance issues at the 17 Indian Irrigation Projects and a $724,000 increase to the Survey and Design program element to fast track the technical modernization studies needed to complete this rehabilitation work.

Dam Projects. The Administration proposed a $2.4 million increase for the Safety of Dams program element to support the award of construction contracts for one or more of the 11 dam safety rehabilitation projects already designed or with expected design completion in FY 2018 and a $1.8 million increase for the Dam Maintenance program element to prioritize deferred maintenance projects at the 138 BIA dams classified as "high hazard." There is currently an identified deferred maintenance need of $538 million.

OTHER PROGRAM CONSTRUCTION/ GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

FY 2017 Enacted $10,941,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $11,963,000
FY 2018 House Committee $11,963,000

The Other Program Construction sub-activities are: Telecommunications Improvement and Repair; Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair; and Construction Program Management.

The House Committee concurred with the overall amount requested by the Administration but provided no further detail.

Telecommunications Improvement and Repair. The Administration proposed a $263,000 increase to support the repair and modernization of BIA telecommunication systems across the regions and agencies.

Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair. The Administration proposed a $1.7 million increase to fund deferred maintenance projects at BIA Administration facilities. There is approximately $253 million of deferred maintenance.

INDIAN LAND AND WATER CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS PAYMENTS TO INDIANS

FY 2017 Enacted $45,045,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $13,999,000
FY 2018 House Committee $55,457,000

For FY 2018, Administration explained, "Funding allocations to enacted settlements in 2018 are contingent on the operating plan developed for FY 2017. The 2017 operating plan was not complete at the time the Budget Justification was written. An updated proposal for 2018 allocations will be provided once the 2017 operating plan is complete." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-SET-3)

The House Committee responded, "The Committee recommends $55,457,000 for Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements and Miscellaneous Payments to Indians. A detailed table of funding recommendations below the account level is provided at the end of this report [see attachment]. The recommended level enables Indian Affairs to meet statutory deadlines of all authorized settlement agreements to date."

INDIAN GUARANTEED LOAN PROGRAM

FY 2017 Enacted $8,757,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $6,692,000
FY 2018 House Committee $9,272,000

The House Report described the Indian Guaranteed Loan Program as "the most effective Federal program tailored, dedicated to, and capable of facilitating greater access to private capital for Indian Tribes and Indian-owned economic enterprises." The Committee rejected the Administration's request for a $2 million cut.

OTHER RELATED AGENCIES

OFFICE OF NAVAJO-HOPI INDIAN RELOCATION

FY 2017 Enacted $15,431,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $14,970,000
FY 2018 House Committee $15,431,000

Closure of the Office. The House Report directs:

The Committee recommends $15,431,000 for the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation (Office), equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Of this amount, $200,000 shall be transferred to the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior for continued oversight of planning, transition, and closure of the Office.

The Committee has directed the Office to begin to communicate with Congress, the affected Tribes, and the Department of the Interior about what will be required to ensure relocation benefits and necessary support services are provided in accordance with the specifications in Public Law 93–531 and to initiate closure of the Office. The Committee requests continuation of the quarterly reports and a comprehensive plan for closing the Office, as outlined in House Report 114–632. Legal analysis on whether any enacting legislation is required to transfer or maintain any identified functions to another agency or organization should also be included. The Office should be transparent about the path forward and should actively consult with all affected parties and agencies.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

TRIBAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION

FY 2017 Enacted $10,485,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 8,996,000
FY 2018 House Committee $ 9,485,000

The House Committee proposed to restore a portion of the cut that the Administration requested. The Administration stated, "The proposed reduction would impact the tribes' capacity to conduct cultural and historic preservation activities and to participate in required consultation on federally-funded projects that impact tribal land or any historic property to which a tribe attaches religious or cultural significance." (FY 2018 National Park Service Budget Justification, p. 31)

If we may provide additional information or assistance regarding FY 2017 INDIAN AFFAIRS, OTHER RELATED AGENCIES, or NATIONAL PARK SERVICE appropriations, please contact us at the information below.

# # #

Inquiries may be directed to:
Moriah O'Brien (mobrien@hobbsstraus.com)

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


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