Congress Adopts Budget Resolution Outlining $3.5 Trillion in Reconciliation Spending; Tribal Nation Advocacy Needed

Published on Aug 23, 2021

On Tuesday, August 23, 2021, the House adopted the Senate’s Budget Resolution, which includes $3.5 trillion in budget reconciliation instructions. The spending enacted under budget reconciliation rules allow for passage by a simple majority in both the House and Senate.

The budget resolution and reconciliation instructions show promise for additional historic investments and budgetary improvements for Indian Country including advance appropriations for certain Indian Health Service (IHS) accounts. Negotiations on the reconciliation spending are currently underway, with Committees starting their markups next week.

Your immediate outreach to Congressional representatives and Congressional Committee staff is essential to ensure that robust investments in Indian Country remain part of the final budget reconciliation package.

Reach out to your Congressional delegation to ensure that Indian Country is fully included in the budget reconciliation spending! Please feel free to use the following resources in your outreach.

View the two versions of a letter sent by 20 partner tribal organizations to Congressional leadership.
House Version | Senate Version

Use this form letter to send to your Congressional delegation and Congressional committees.
Form Letter

View this reference sheet of Congressional Committee assignments as part of the budget reconciliation instructions.
Reference Sheet

What is the Budget Resolution and Budget Reconciliation?
The budget resolution sets recommended spending levels for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022-2031. The resolution also includes reconciliation instructions for additional spending. Reconciliation instructions provide directives to Congressional Committees to send legislative text that fits within the instructions, in order to “reconcile” the additional spending.

This resolution includes instructions for 12 Committees in the Senate and 13 Committees in the House, including $20.5 billion for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and $25.6 billion for the House Committee on Natural Resources. The vast majority of the spending will occur across the additional Committees within the instructions, and tribal spending could be included in any of the assigned Committees. This means that Tribal Nations and advocates should consider reaching out to any of the assigned Committees to ensure that Indian Country funding is included.

What is the Timing and the Process for Advocacy?
The deadline for Committees to submit spending legislation is September 15, 2021, with many Committees looking to move faster. For example, the House Committee on Natural Resources will be holding its mark-up on Thursday, September 2, 2021. It is important to contact members of Congress on the Committees and professional staff on the Committees now. Each member of Congress has influence within and outside their Committee assignments, and your representative could advance your priorities among their colleagues.

Once reconciliation text is introduced and passed through each Committee, the bill must pass in the House and Senate with a simple majority vote then head to the President for signature.

NCAI Contact - Tyler Scribner, Policy Analyst

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