NIHB Testifies to House Approrpriation Subcommittee
NIHB Testifies in front of Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
March 7, 2019
On March 6, 2019, NIHB Chairwoman Victoria Kitcheyan of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This was part of a two day public witness hearing that is focused on Tribal programs. The Subcommittee holds public witness hearings annually and provides an opportunity for testimony regarding the Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other critical Tribal programs.
Chairwoman Kitcheyan’s testimony focused on the importance of the Indian Health Service’s (IHS) Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget. NIHB follows the recommendations of the IHS Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup and the need to fully fund the IHS. Their recommendation for FY 2020 is $7 billion in appropriations. Chairwoman Kitcheyan stated, “Funding of the IHS plays an important and critical role in addressing health disparities and we cannot continue to financially starve the system and expect better health outcomes.”
One of the requests made during the testimony was for advance appropriations for IHS. This means funding for a fiscal year would become available a year in advance. If IHS were to receive advance appropriations, it would not be subject to government shutdowns as its funding for the next year would already be in place. “The 35 day shutdown at the end of 2018 and start of 2019 destabilized Native health delivery and health care provider access… enacting advance appropriation would ensure we would not be impacted by any political battles.” Advance appropriations also helps honor the federal trust responsibility to ensure that the federal government meets its obligations to the Tribes in the event that Congress cannot enact the federal appropriations by the start of the fiscal year. NIHB has long advocated for advanced appropriations and you can read more here.
To watch the full appropriations subcommittee hearing, click here.
If you have any questions about NIHB’s work in the appropriations process, please contact Caitrin Shuy, Director of Congressional Relations at CShuy@nihb.org.