NCAI Analysis of the President's FY2015 Budget Request

Published on Mar 05, 2014

In the coming weeks, the President's budget will be reviewed by Congress, and appropriations committees will continue holding hearings on the proposals. In January of this year, NCAI released its FY 2015 tribal budget recommendations, which can be compared to the Administration's budget proposals.

Overall Budget Request:The President released his FY 2015 budget on March 4, 2014. It proposes $3.9 trillion in outlays for FY 2015, a $250 billion increase over the $3.6 trillion estimated for FY 2014. The President's budget adheres to the discretionary spending caps set under the December budget deal (PL 113-67), requesting $1.014 billion next year in base discretionary spending compared to the $1.012 billion that Congress enacted in the recent FY 2014 omnibus (PL 113-76). The Administration also requests an additional $56 billion, the "Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative," as a kind of supplemental, split between defense and domestic accounts and funds programs such as education and infrastructure. The $56 billion in spending would be offset with spending cuts, such as reducing federal crop insurance subsides, reallocating spectrum, and reducing the tax benefits for multi-million-dollar retirement accounts. The White House plan also would replace the sequester cuts starting in FY 2016 to discretionary spending and states that the caps set under the Budget Control Act do not allow enough investment in the country's future needs.

Highlights of Proposed Funding for Tribal Programs: Many tribal programs fall into the category of domestic discretionary funding. In preparation for the President's budget, some agencies have consulted with tribes about programs in the budget. Some recommendations from Indian Country are included in the FY 2015 proposal. Below are a few highlights from NCAI's initial analysis of the President's budget. Additional department summaries are addressed below, as well as links to many of the agency budget documents for even more in depth analysis.

Significant proposals in the President's FY 2015 Budget include:

• Full funding for Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service (IHS) contract support costs (CSC): BIA CSC would receive $251 million, including funding for the Indian Self-Determination Fund, an increase of $4 million above the FY 2014 enacted level. IHS CSC would be funded at $617 million, an increase of $30 million above FY 2014.
• The BIA proposes the Tiwahe (Family) Initiative: a comprehensive and integrated approach to address the inter-related problems of poverty, violence, and substance abuse faced by Indian communities. The initiative would provide about a $5 million increase for Social Services and $4.7 million increase for ICWA, $550,000 increase for BIA Job Placement and Training, and a pilot program for providing alternatives to incarceration and increased treatment.
Public Safety: The budget would provide $395 million for Department of Justice (DOJ) public safety initiatives in Indian Country and $352 million for Public Safety and Justice programs funded by the BIA.
Tax provisions: Treasury includes a proposal to exclude from income student loan forgiveness and certain scholarship amounts for participation in the IHS health professions program; a modification of the adoption tax credit to allow Indian Tribal Governments to make a status determination of a "child with special needs"; and changes to the rules governing tax-exempt bonds for Indian tribal governments, including permanent repeal of the essential governmental function test and allowance of Indian tribal issuance of certain private activity bonds.
Environment: Tribal General Assistance Grants in EPA would receive a $31 million increase to $96.4 million - a 47 percent increase over FY14.

NCAI will work to ensure that the federal programs that fulfill the trust responsibility to tribes receive bipartisan support in the appropriations process. The White House has released a factsheet, "Standing With Indian Country."

Download the complete analysis of the President's FY 2015 Budget.

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