NCAI Action Alert: Take action IMMEDIATELY to ensure that Congress adequately funds Bureau of Indian Education school replacement construction

March 13, 2013

ACT NOW! Senate FY 2013 Continuing Resolution Would Terminate New Tribal School Construction Funding

Upcoming Deadlines for House FY 2014 Appropriations Testimony


Take action IMMEDIATELY to ensure that Congress adequately funds Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) school replacement construction.

On March 11, 2013, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released their FY 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR), which seeks to fund the federal government for the remaining six months of this fiscal year and will be discussed on the floor today. The Senate’s substitute amendment to the House-passed Continuing Resolution (HR 933) provides the same level of discretionary spending as the House while making $1.15 billion worth of changes to the amounts for individual bills. The Senate version of the CR includes three more FY 2013 spending bills (Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science and Homeland Security) in addition to the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Defense bills in the House version. Both the House and Senate versions keep with current spending caps of $1.043 trillion, but the sequester will effectively reduce spending authority to about $984 billion. The current six-month Continuing Resolution (PL 112-175) expires March 27, 2013.

One notable cut that will affect BIE schools included in the Senate’s CR is to BIA construction in Section 1401 of the CR.

Please call your Senators NOW and tell them to strike Section 1401, subsection (g), the BIA Construction language, from the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR), so Native students in the BIE system have safe schools to attend.

Talking Points For Your Calls

  • The dire state of Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools demands immediate action. Facilities have been allowed to deteriorate to the point of potentially causing serious injury or death to students and school staff.
  • The Senate’s new funding proposal would zero out new BIE school construction while increasing Department of Defense school replacement by $30 million above FY 2013 levels.
  • There must be parity between the nation’s only two federally-funded school systems. As such, Indian Country urges the Senate to ensure that dilapidated BIE schools also receive adequate funding.
  • Providing safe and secure schools for Native students is a matter of basic equity and a fundamental element of the federal government’s trust responsibility to tribes.
  • Strike Section 1401, subsection (g), the BIA School Replacement language.

Background

The CR increases Department of Defense school replacement by $30 million above FY 2012 levels while zeroing out funds for new BIE school construction. Indian Country urges the Senate to ensure that dilapidated BIE schools also receive much-needed attention. There must be parity between the two federally-funded school systems. As currently written, the Senate language seeks to terminate the BIE replacement budget entirely. The CR already allows the sequester to go into effect for discretionary programs.

BIE schools are in overwhelmingly horrific conditions across the United States. Rodent infestations, buckling walls, water leaks near electrical outlets, and exposed asbestos, lead paint, and mold are abundant in facilities that serve Native students. Providing safe and secure schools for Native students is a matter of basic equity and a fundamental element of the federal government’s trust responsibility to tribes.

Take Action Now

Call TODAY to express the dire need to remove the current BIA ConstructionSchool Replacement language, Section 1401, subsection (g) from the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution. The CR is on the Senate floor today, so call Congress today and tell them to strike the BIA Construction language out of the Senate Continuing Resolution.

Please call your Senators immediately to express the dire need to remove the current BIA School Replacement language, Section 1401 (g), from the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution. The Senate is expected to vote this week, so call your senators today and tell them to strike the BIA Construction language out of the Senate Continuing Resolution.

 

Upcoming Deadlines for FY 2014 Appropriations Testimony

The House Appropriations Subcommittees have released instructions for submitting written testimony.  NCAI urges tribes to submit written testimony. Background information on federal programs serving tribes can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/XtgFXX

Deadlines to submit testimony and instructions are below:

  • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies testimony is due March 15, 2013. http://1.usa.gov/14WPclQ
  • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies testimony is due March 20, 2013.
  • http://1.usa.gov/14WPmd2
  • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies testimony is due March 21, 2013. http://1.usa.gov/14WPoBx
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Oversight Hearing on Indian Health,  March 19, 2013, 1:30 PM in B-308 RHOB. The deadline for providing written public testimony on Indian Health only is March 26, 2013. http://1.usa.gov/14WPvND
  • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing April 24 and 25, 2013, on American Indian/Alaska Native programs. Requests to testify must be received by March 27, 2013, and copies of testimony are due April 25, 2013. http://1.usa.gov/14WP1qE
Other subcommittee information and instructions related to subcommittee testimony can be found herehttp://appropriations.house.gov/

For further questions, please contact NCAI Legislative Associate, Katie Jones at (202) 466-7767 or kjones@ncai.org or Amber Ebarb at aebarb@ncai.org.

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.

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