Testimony of Jacob J. Lew
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD
JACOB J. LEW
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
THE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE
5 APRIL 2000
Thank you for your invitation to appear before the Senate Committee
on Indian Affairs to
provide the Administration's views with respect to S. 612 - Indian Needs
Assessment and Program
Evaluation Act of 2000. We appreciate the opportunity to share our views
on the legislation.
Administration Actions to Address Indian Country Needs
The relationship between the U.S. Government and Native
is a historical one founded on a trust responsibility. The Administration
continues to honor its government-to- government relationship with Tribes
supporting critical programs serving Indian reservations, developing
orders specific to Native Americans, and bringing together Tribal leaders
resources across the government to address priority Tribal concerns.
In 1994, the President held the first ever historic meeting with
over 300 Tribal leaders at the White House to highlight progress on
improving the government-to-government relationship and to highlight
community development needs in Indian Country. A similar, smaller meeting
was held in 1996. In August 1998, the President held a White House
Conference on Economic Development where agencies were directed to develop
a strategic plan for coordinating existing economic development activities
for Native Americans and Alaska Natives and Tribal leaders were able to
showcase accomplishments. Also in August 1998, the President signed an
executive order directing agencies to coordinate to develop a strategic
plan on improving elementary and secondary education in Indian Country. In
May 1999, the President met with Tribal leaders from the Northern Plains
(ND, SD, MT) to discuss education, health care, and housing needs in Indian
Country. The culmination of these Presidential events lead to a
rdinated effort to improve the quality of life in Indian Country, which is
reflected in the FY 2001 Budget request.
Funding for Indian Country in the FY 2001 Budget
Since 1994, the Domestic Policy Council Interagency Working Group
Indians and Alaskan Natives, chaired by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt,
met quarterly on policy areas related to Native Americans. This group
as a forum for information exchange, needs assessment, and coordination of
For example, the Working Group did significant work with tribes on Y2K
and has reached out to Indians to encourage participation in the census.
White House working group has been active in encouraging agencies to
programs that assist Indians. The Economic Development Conference, along
other initiatives, came out of the interagency working group.
In addition, the White House Working Group worked closely with the
and OMB to develop the President's Native American initiative that is a key
of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget. This initiative is one of the top
priorities. It is a coordinated, multi-agency government-wide initiative
focuses Federal resources on critical programs serving Native Americans.
President's FY 2001 Budget includes $9.4 billion, an increase of $1.2
or 14 percent over FY 2000, to address critical needs including health
economic development, infrastructure, and other basic needs.
This initiative includes significant increases for the Indian Health
the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and numerous other agencies. Such increases
intended to target high priority, high impact areas and to address critical
life and safety needs. The Working Group will coordinate agency efforts to
the initiative. We believe that if enacted, this initiative will make a
difference in the quality of life of Native Americans.
Indian Needs Assessment
The FY 2001 Budget presents a comprehensive way to fund critical
needs and is intended to challenge leaders to achieve consensus on these
areas. S. 612 also attempts to address areas of need in Indian Country.
is intended to overcome the Congressional concerns regarding the
of detailed and reliable information about Indian Country needs. While the
shares these concerns, we do not believe that S. 612 addresses this issue
effective and efficient manner nor does it indicate the importance of
program results. The Administration has and will continue to work with the
as they continue to develop and reform performance indicators and provide
information on program performance pursuant to the Government Performance
Results Act (GPRA) of 1994.
For example, the Indian Health Service has developed a GPRA
plan aimed at using a cost-effective public health approach to reduce the
disparities in Native Americans. This performance plan plays an important
in the development of IHS budgets and operating plans. IHS' GPRA plan
goals to improve the overall health status of Native Americans and Alaska
including measures to increase glycemic control efforts as a means to
complications, to provide additional home-based well-child visits, and to
water fluoridation compliance to reduce the prevalence of dental decay.
The proposed legislation would require the following reports to
OMB asked Federal departments and agencies to review and comment on
proposed bill's requirements. To date, we have received comments from
dozen organizations with Indian programs totaling $8.6 billion, or 92
of the Native American initiative. These organizations provide a
assistance programs and services to tribal governments and tribal members.
expressed similar concerns that the proposed legislation is too broad in
burdensome and expensive to administer, and duplicates current GPRA
- Indian Needs Assessments - after the Secretary of the Interior develops
a uniform method, each Federal agency must identify the actual needs of
Indian tribes and Indians eligible for Federal programs and services.
Reports are due every five years.
- Annual Indian Program Evaluations - each Federal agency must report on
annual expenditures for Federal programs and services for which Indians are
eligible, including information on those tribes that receive services and
those that applied but did not receive services.
- Annual Listing of Tribal Eligible Programs - each agency must publish
in the Federal Register a list of all programs and services available to
Indian tribes or their members.
- Strategic Plan - within 18 months the Secretary of the Interior must
file a plan for improving coordination of Federal assistance for
The testimony of Interior's Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
Gover covers the many technical, schedule, and methodological problems that
shared by these other departments and agencies.
Funding and successful implementation of programs that assist Native
remain a priority for the Administration. The Administration stands ready
with the Committee to address this issue and will, pursuant to GPRA,
to work with Federal agencies administering programs serving Native
to ensure that their programs are efficient and effective.