The Budget Control Act of 2011, outlines specific "caps" on federal spending between FYs 2013-2021. If Congress fails to reach a deal on appropriations, automatic-across the board sequestration cuts will occur. In FY 2013, the Indian Health Service lost $220 million from its budget due to sequestration.
Tribes continue to argue for an end to sequestration for Indian Country but raising the "caps" on federal spending and exemption Indian programs from sequestration. Programs serving Indian Country should not be used to balance the federal budget, and failure to completely exempt Tribal governments from sequestration will mean that Tribal communities are deprived of essential functions, resulting in loss of opportunity and even loss of life.
Click here to learn more about how to advocate for an exemption from sequestration for Indian Country.
On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act into law. This would prevent sequestration for Fiscal Years 2016-2017. But the threat still exists. In order to avoid sequestration for Indian Country we need to tell Congress how these cuts are costing lives in Tribal communities. Estimates of how funding reductions could potentially hurt your communities are very important for making this case.
Click here for an example of how the Sault Ste Marie Tribe estimated the effects of sequestration.
At Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the poorest parts of the United States, the budget cuts known as sequestration have slashed millions of federal dollars in funding.
By ANNIE LOWREY
New York Times
PINE RIDGE, S.D. — The Red Cloud-Bissonette family needs a new trailer. Frank, who is disabled, and Norma, his wife, are members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who live on the sprawling grasslands of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Despite their constant efforts to patch the seams of one of their trailers that was hauled here in 1988, rot and mold continue to climb up the walls.
The family has punched a hole in the ceiling for a chimney for their wood stove, a necessity given the harshness of the winters but a fire hazard in the dry climate...
In partnership with the National Council on Urban Indian Health, the National Indian Health board sent a letter to Congressional Leadership urging Congress to pass a legislative exemption for the Indian Health Service from sequestration in response to a recently-passed measure that would reduce the impact of sequestration on the Federal Aviation Administration.