Standing with Indian Country
The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget demonstrates that we can make critical investments to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow the economy while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way.
The President believes we must invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising and thriving middle class. He is focused on addressing three fundamental questions: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do the jobs of the 21st Century? How do we make sure hard work leads to a decent living? The Budget presents the President’s plan to address each of these questions.
To make America once again a magnet for jobs, the Budget invests in high-tech manufacturing and innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure, while cutting red tape to help businesses grow. To give workers the skills they need to compete in the global economy, it invests in education from pre-school to job training. To ensure hard work is rewarded, it raises the minimum wage to $9 an hour so a hard day’s work pays more.
The Budget does all of these things as part of a comprehensive plan that reduces the deficit and puts the Nation on a sound fiscal course. Every new initiative in the plan is fully paid for, so they do not add a single dime to the deficit. The Budget also incorporates the President’s compromise offer to House Speaker Boehner to achieve another $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction in a balanced way. When combined with the deficit reduction already achieved, this will allow us to exceed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, while growing the economy and strengthening the middle class. By including this compromise proposal in the Budget, the President is demonstrating his willingness to make tough choices and his seriousness about finding common ground to further reduce the deficit.
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The United States’ responsibilities to Native Americans include a wide range of services delivered, while respecting and bolstering Indian self-determination. The Congress has placed the trust responsibility for Indian matters in the Department of the Interior, primarily within the Bureau of Indian Affairs. However, there are over 20 Federal departments and agencies that collectively provide a full range of support to Native Americans similar to those provided to the general public. To support Indian country, the 2014 Budget will:
Continue Efforts to Increase Access to Health Care for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). The 2014 Budget includes a $124 million increase in budget authority for Indian Health Service (IHS) above the 2012 enacted level and a $244 million increase in its program level – reflecting increased insurance collections resulting from the Affordable Care Act. This funding will support increases in high priority activities, such as staffing at new facilities, Purchased/Referred Care, and Contract Support Costs. The Budget proposes to balance the government’s obligation to support tribal administrative costs while maintaining funding for health care services in light of the Supreme Court decision in Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter. The Budget also includes $80 million for community-based mental health programs for AI/ANs that provide vital outpatient mental health counseling, case management services, and community-based prevention and health education services.
Combat Crime in Indian Country. The Budget provides $369 million for the Department of Justice public safety initiatives in Indian Country. Funding is provided for additional grants to address criminal justice issues, including tribal victims of violence, and for the Office of Tribal Justice and the Bureau of Prisons.
Support Tribal Self-Determination. The Budget provides $2.56 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs/Education (BIA/BIE). The Budget supports the principle of tribal self-determination with $231 million to assist Tribes when they manage Federal programs themselves, as well as $189 million for natural resources. The Budget also provides funding for a program evaluation and other reforms at BIE schools. Within the total, the Budget provides $365 million for BIA Public Safety and Justice Programs, including funding to help staff new detention centers.
Address the Scarcity of Healthy, Safe, Affordable Housing in Indian Country. The Budget provides $650 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Native American Housing Block Grant program. This program helps mitigate the severe housing needs many Native Americans continue to face, and provides over 550 Tribes with funding for vital housing activities, such as construction, rehabilitation, and operations. In addition, the Budget provides $70 million for HUD’s Indian Community Development Block Grant program, which includes a new $10 million set-aside for mold remediation. This competitive program provides funds to Tribes for activities such as improving the housing stock, providing community facilities, making infrastructure improvements, and expanding job opportunities.
Increase Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education. To build a foundation for success in the formative early years of life, the Budget outlines a proposal to increase access to high-quality early childhood education with the Preschool for All initiative. This initiative is financed by raising the Federal tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, which would also have substantial public health impacts, particularly by reducing youth smoking. In addition, the Budget makes three complementary investments, including Preschool Development Grants, to help States build the infrastructure so they can participate in Preschool for All; an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership fund to increase access to high-quality early learning environments; and an extension and expansion of the evidence-based voluntary home visiting program to provide our most vulnerable parents and children with the education and services to ensure our youngest children develop into healthy learners in safe homes.
Provide High-Quality Preschool for All. In partnership with the States, the Budget provides all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds with high-quality preschool, while also encouraging States to serve additional four-year-olds from middle-income families. The initiative also promotes access to full-day kindergarten and high-quality early education programs for children under age four. The Administration’s proposal includes a set-aside of one-half of 1 percent for the Bureau of Indian Education, which would have to meet the same eligibility requirements as those established for States in order to receive Federal funding.
Invest in High-Quality Infant and Toddler Care. The Budget provides $1.6 billion for companion investments in child care and high-quality care for infants and toddlers through new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.
Invest in Effective Parent and Family Strategies. The Budget also provides $15 billion to extend and expand evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs that allow nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to tools that positively impact the child’s health, development, and ability to learn.
Sustain Investment While Ramping up Innovations in Grades K-12. The Department of Education has fueled historic reforms in our education system by rewarding excellence and promoting innovation to help children succeed. Continuing to build on these reforms, the 2014 Budget provides $659 million in School Turnaround Grants to turn around America’s persistently lowest-performing schools; includes $215 million to support effective educational models through the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund; increases the supply of high-quality public educational options through a $295 million investment in the Expanding Educational Options program; and provides $1.3 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to provide high-need students with additional time, support, and enrichment activities. The Budget is also committed to maintaining support for disadvantaged students by providing $14.5 billion for ESEA Title I Grants to States to pay teacher salaries and fund critical education interventions. The Budget provides over $1 billion in direct support for K-12 Indian education through set-asides for the Bureau of Indian Education and programs targeted at Indian students.
Improve College Affordability and Value. The Budget proposes to improve college affordability and value with a continued commitment to Pell Grants; budget-neutral student loan reform that will make interest rates more market-based; a $1 billion Race to the Top fund to support competitive grants to States that drive higher education reform, while doing more to contain tuition; a $260 million First in the World fund to spur cutting-edge innovations that decrease college costs and boost graduation rates; and reforms to Federal campus-based aid to reward colleges that set responsible tuition policy, provide a high quality education, and better serve students with financial need.
Prepare Students for STEM Careers in the 21st Century Economy. The Budget proposes a comprehensive reorganization of Federal STEM education programs to make better use of resources and improve outcomes in four areas: K-12 instruction, undergraduate education, graduate fellowships, and education activities that typically take place outside the classroom. This reorganization has as a goal increasing participation and opportunities for individuals from groups historically underrepresented in these fields.
Promote New Approaches to Job Training and Employment Services. As the economy changes, training and employment programs must innovate and adapt to help American workers gain the skills they need to find new jobs and careers. The Budget includes several initiatives to ensure these goals are achieved by exploring opportunities to revisit how the Federal Government funds job training programs that serve overlapping populations; driving innovation through the Workforce Innovation Fund by testing new State and regional ideas to better deliver training and employment services and help workers find jobs; and providing $8 billion for a Community College to Career Fund to support State and community college partnerships with businesses and other stakeholders to build the skills of American workers.
Create Pathways to Work for Every American. Investing in our nation’s low-income youth, and connecting those who have experienced long-term unemployment to jobs, is critical to building long-term prosperity and ensuring that our economic recovery reaches all Americans. The Budget creates a $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work fund to make it easier for workers to remain connected to the workforce and gain new skills for long-term employment. This initiative will support summer and year round jobs for low-income youth, subsidized employment opportunities for unemployed and low income adults, and other promising strategies designed to lead to employment. The Budget also proposes a $4 billion Reemployment NOW program, which helps States fund innovative strategies to connect workers receiving unemployment insurance and other long-term unemployed individuals with job opportunities.
Partner with Communities to Help Them Rebuild. The Promise Zones initiative will revitalize high-poverty communities across the country by attracting private investment, improving affordable housing, expanding educational opportunities, providing tax incentives for hiring workers and investing in the Zones, and assisting local leaders in navigating Federal programs and cutting through red tape. The initiative will ensure Native American and rural representation among the designated Promise Zones. To align Federal investments with these hardest-hit communities, the Budget invests $300 million in combining effective cradle-to-career services with comprehensive school reforms through Promise Neighborhoods; $400 million in Choice Neighborhoods to revitalize affordable housing and surrounding neighborhoods; and $35 million in Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grants to combat serious crime and violence using proven public safety strategies.