The government shutdown is finally over, a more-than-monthlong display of political dysfunction that Sen. Tina Smith says should not affect federal money for tribal communities if it happens again.
“Native communities are some of the hardest hit … jeopardizing the health and wellness of Native people in Minnesota and across the country,” Smith said in a news release on Friday.
The legislation would authorize federal funding a year in advance for programs and services within the Indian Health Services and Bureau of Indian Affairs. It’s one of numerous legislative proposals by congressional Democrats to offset the consequences of government shutdowns.
That mimics how funding is organized for other federal programs considered critical at the federal Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Veterans Affairs. It’s meant to prevent the kind of temporary funding lapses brought on by federal shutdowns and short-term budget deals.
“Tribal nations can have budget certainty for programs and services like health care, education, and law enforcement” under the proposal, Smith said.
A member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Smith is co-sponsoring the legislation with other Democrats on the panel. It’s backed by a number of prominent tribal advocacy groups.