Tribal Communities Stand to Benefit from the New Spending Bill

  |  April 5, 2018

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 is the $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on March 23. The bill covers government spending for the remainder of 2018.

The spending bill provides $3.1 billion to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, a seven percent increase from the 2017 budget. This includes $179 million in infrastructure increases for schools, law enforcement, road maintenance, economic development, realty, and water settlements.

Indian Health Service received approximately $5.5 billion from the overall amount allocated to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The amount for IHS is an increase of almost $500 million from fiscal year 2017. This includes operating costs for staffing at new facilities, increases for fixed costs and the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund, and an additional $340 million for infrastructure improvements at medical facilities.

The spending bill includes budgets for all administrative agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program, which provides federal funding to tribal communities for their housing programs. Overall, the bill allocates $755 million to the IHBG program, of which $100 million is to be distributed on a competitive basis for new construction and rehabilitation of housing units.

The competitive funding has not been included in any appropriations bill since the enactment of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), which created the IHBG program. The last large infusion of funds to the IHBG program was with the allocation made along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

To discuss the implications of the spending bill on your community’s operations and strategy, please contact Corrine Wilson.

For highlights on tribal community impact in the spending bill, please see this recent report from NAFOA.

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