March 31, 2014  |  Issue 14-9





Legislative Hearing on Advanced Appropriations

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
April 2, 2014
Washington D.C.
628 Dirksen Office Building
AI/AN Public Witness Hearing

House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
April 7-8, 2014
Washington D.C.

Rayburn House Office Building in B-308


Public Health Congressional Briefing


April 8, 2014


Washington D.C. 

628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

In This Issue


SDPI Legislative Alert - Senate Set to Pass 1 Year Renewal Today 


Senate Committee on Indian Affairs FY 2015 Budget Hearing


Call to Action on IHS Advanced Appropriations


NIHB to host Upcoming Public Health Briefing on Capitol Hill


SDPI Legislative Alert - Senate Set to Pass 1 Year Renewal Today 

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "doc fix" legislation (H.R. 4302 section 204) which included language renewing funding for 1 year of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). The passage of this bill comes after negotiations stalled on a larger "fix" bill over how to pay for it. It passed on a voice vote in the House last Thursday.


The Senate is likely to pass the measure today, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has supported this short term patch.  However, Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the Senate Finance Committee (which has jurisdiction over SGR) says he wants to remain focused on a longer-term solution.


This renewal is a critical victory that will enable this vital program to continue to serve the needs of our people. THANK YOU to all of those who contacted their Member of Congress in support of SDPI. This could not have been done without you!


Although this one year renewal is a strong positive step, a multi-year renewal of SDPI will accomplish much more. It will help provide a more stable stream of funding for the program and - most importantly - it will give Tribal members SDPI programs serve the uninterrupted care they need and ultimately the care they deserve. NIHB will continue to bolster advocacy efforts in support of a multi-year renewal this year.  

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs FY 2015 Budget Hearing

On March 26, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard testimony at a hearing called: "The President's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget for Tribal Programs."   The Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) said he was encouraged by the proposed increases while acknowledging that these are difficult financial times. The Committee heard testimony from Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Kevin Washburn and Acting Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), Dr. Yvette Roubideaux.  Tribal leaders representing the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Health Board also testified. 


Andrew Joseph Jr., NIHB At-Large Board member and the Chairman of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, spoke on behalf of the National Indian Health Board about the critical need for adequate health care funding. "Clearly, more must be done to alleviate these health risks for our people and to fulfill the trust obligations to American Indians and Alaska Natives," Joseph said. "Despite the historic increases that Congress has given to the IHS budget over the last several years, funding discrepancies unambiguously remain. The First People of this nation should not be last when it comes to health," Joseph told the committee.

Call to Action on IHS Advanced Appropriations

In the same Budget hearing on March 26, Chairman Tester discussed advanced appropriations for the Indian Health Service. He voiced his strong support for the enactment of advance appropriations for IHS and pointed to the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs has greatly benefitted from this status. However, he also noted that advanced appropriations will need real support from Indian Country in order to get it passed through Congress.


The National Indian Health Board needs your help. As you may have heard, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) is holding a hearing on April 2 to discuss S. 1570, a bill that would authorize advanced appropriations for the Indian Health Service (IHS) by providing 2-fiscal-year budget authority.


In light of this incredible opportunity, NIHB is requesting that Area Indian Health Boards and Tribes send testimony, a letter and/or a support resolution advocating for advanced appropriations to It is imperative that we stand together in support of this legislation so that it can become a reality.  


Please join us in fighting for advanced appropriations. Together we can work to ending the worry that our people experience when loved ones get sick after June. If we act now, we could be part of a movement that results in insulating the IHS from harmful sequestration cuts or catastrophic government shutdowns. Let's show Congress a united front. You can find a sample support letter to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs here and a sample resolution here.  


NIHB to host Upcoming Public Health Briefing on Capitol Hill

NIHB will hold a Congressional briefing on Public health issues in Indian Country on April 8 at 3:30pm in 628 Dirksen. Chronic disease issues greatly affect the overall health of American Indians and Alaska Natives.  The briefing would seek to bring to light some of these key issues such as mental illness and suicide; obesity and diabetes; unintentional injuries; and alcoholism and substance abuse.


For any questions on this briefing, contact Caitrin Shuy Manager of Congressional Relations at or at 202-374-9966. 

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Washington, DC 20003
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Fax: 202-507-4071
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