January 28, 2014  |  Issue 14- 41


In This Issue




As many of you know, the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) will expire on September 30, 2014.  Last fall, 75 percent of the House and Senate signed a letter supporting the renewal of SDPI - but we are not done yet!  Typically, SDPI is renewed as part of the "Medicare Extenders" package that accompanies the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) "fix" for physician Medicare reimbursement. 


The Senate Finance Committee has passed a bill that would renew SDPI for 5 years at $150 million/ year (S. 1871).  However, the full Senate has not considered the measure.  The House of Representatives has not yet considered the Medicare Extender legislation as part of their SGR proposal. We urge you to please contact your Representatives and urge them to pass the SDPI as part of the Medicare Extenders.


Click here to learn about other ways you can help support the SDPI renewal.  For more information on the NIHB's SDPI renewal campaign please visit www.nihb.org/sdpi or contact Caitrin Shuy, Manager of Congressional relations at (202) 507-4085 or cshuy@nihb.org.


On Monday, January 27 the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) sent a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service urging Tribes to be consulted as the agencies find a solution to Contract Support Costs (CSC) as outlined in the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-76).  You can read the letter here.


The FY 2014 omnibus appropriations act did not provide specific funding for the payment of Contract Support Costs, but instead, remanded the issue to the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to resolve.  The agencies have 120 days to formulate a work plan on how to resolve CSC.  They also must provide a detailed operating plan within 30 days.  The NIHB / NCAI letter urged IHS and BIA to consult with Tribes to develop this plan and to fully fund CSC without cutting direct services.  

For more information please contact Caitrin Shuy, Manager of Congressional Relations at (202) 507-4085 or cshuy@nihb.org.

G Deal on the Farm Bill Reached

On January 28, 2014, Congressional negotiators revealed a bipartisan deal on the "Farm Bill" which will replace the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246) that expired at the end of 2012.  The House is expected to consider the legislation on Wednesday. The Senate has not yet announced when it will consider the measure but it is expected to be within the next three weeks.


The measure will cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $8.6 billion over 10 years.  While these cuts are dramatic, this is far less than the $40 billion in cuts proposed in the House of Representatives last year.  To achieve the savings on SNAP, the legislation would increase the state heating assistance requirement.   


Indian Country also received several important items in the agreement.  This includes a feasibility study for Tribal management of food assistance programs (including SNAP); a provision that permits traditional foods to be served in residential child care facilities, child nutrition programs, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and senior meal programs; a demonstration project that permits the use of traditional and locally grown foods from Native farmers in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.  The agreement would also designate Tribes as eligible entities for Soil and Water Conservation Act Programs.


NIHB will keep you updated as the Farm Bill legislation moves through Congress in the coming days.  Please contact NIHB if you have any questions or would like additional information.

hPresident's FY 2015 Budget Request to be released on March 4

Last week, the White House announced that it will release its FY 2015 Budget request on March 4, 2014.   The President is legally required to submit a budget to Congress by the first week in February, however, the late enactment of the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Measure meant that the Administration is scrambling to put the final numbers together. 


Once the President's budget is released to Congress, the FY 2015 appropriations process will begin in Congress.  Because Congress has already agreed upon top-line discretionary spending levels for FY 2015, many are hopeful that this year will be a return to "regular order" on appropriations.  However, given that it is an election year, the FY 2015 budget is far from certain.

i Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to Hold hearing on Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act bill

On Wednesday, January 29, at 2:30pm EST, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing on Department of the Interior Tribal Self-Governance Act of 2013 (s. 919). 


Testifying at the hearing will be Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn; Ron Allen, Chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Council; Ron Trahan, Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; Jerry Isaac, President, Tanana Chiefs Conference; and Mickey Peercy, with Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee.


For more information visit www.indian.senate.gov or call (202) 224-2251.  

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