Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
We write to you again to provide an update on the status of direct funding for Indian Country as negotiations continue on the budget reconciliation bill. At present, we are facing the strong possibility of up to a 75% reduction to the $20.5 billion originally identified for Tribal Nations in this legislation. With conversations on the funding level and scope of the bill occurring right now at the highest levels, it is critical that Tribal Nations weigh in immediately to ensure our funding is preserved.
Earlier this afternoon, USET SPF sent a letter to Democratic Leadership urging them to reconsider any cuts to the funding identified for Tribal Nations and instead fight to ensure we are meaningfully included in any final agreement. We strongly encourage our member Tribal Nations to send similar letters as soon as possible to Democratic Leadership and your Democratic representatives and senators. To that end, we enclose a template letter for your use. In addition, we provide email contact information for Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: Veronica_Watters@schumer.senate.gov
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: McKenzie.Fields@mail.house.gov
The Build Back Better agenda is meant to leave a lasting legacy on America’s physical, social, and economic landscape. While we understand that overall spending under the reconciliation bill must be reduced in order to gain additional votes, this cannot and should not be accomplished to the detriment of Tribal Nations and federal trust and treaty obligations. This will only exacerbate centuries of unfulfilled obligations and broken promises, many of which have come into horrifyingly sharper focus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
USET SPF will continue to monitor negotiations on the budget reconciliation bill and will provide further information as it develops. For more information, please contact Liz Malerba, USET SPF Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.