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Old Business: Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations Bills.

Sample Letter!

The 114th Congress concluded last December without passing the majority of the fiscal year 2017 spending bills, including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) bill that funds the Indian Housing Block Grant and other housing and related physical infrastructure in tribal communities.

Instead, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the operations of the federal government through April 28, 2017.

Congress and the Trump Administration are still negotiating how to deal with the remaining spending bills and have several options, including passing them all in one large measure (the “Omnibus Spending Bill”), lumping them in small groups (the “Mini-Bus Spending Bills”) or simply adopting another CR effective through the end of fiscal year 2017 (e.g. September 30, 2017).

The past five fiscal cycles have seen the IHBG funded at the following levels:

2012                                                    $650 million

2013                                                    $650 million

2014                                                    $650 million

2015                                                    $650 million

2016                                                    $650 million

New Business: Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations Bills.

On March 16, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget submitted to Congress an outline of the President’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget request titled, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”  A more detailed budget request is expected to be submitted in May 2017.

The budget outline includes an increase in military spending (+$54 billion) with sizeable reductions in domestic discretionary programs. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is slated to receive $40.7 billion — a $6.2 billion or 13.3 percent decrease from the fiscal year 2017 CR levels. The budget outline proposes to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant Program (-$3 billion), and to increase by $20 million the Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control programs.

It is not yet known how Indian housing programs will fair, but with a 13.3 percent reduction under the President’s budget outline, significant reductions for the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and other Indian accounts are likely to be proposed.

Call to Action.

These reductions would decimate most Indian housing programs, and accordingly, we urge you to contact members of both the House and Senate THUD Subcommittees on Appropriations — especially the members of your congressional delegation — and let them know of your support for continued funding for the IHBG and related programs.

These tribal letters should be sent in as soon as possible.  The House Appropriations THUD Subcommittee member roster can be found here and the Senate Appropriations THUD Subcommittee member roster can be accessed here.

In addition, the directory for the U.S. House of Representatives can be found here and the United States Senate here.

If you have questions, please contact:

Gary Cooper:  gary.cooper@hacn.org or

Sami Jo Difuntorum:  samijod@ctsi.nsn.us