In an interview with Indian Country Today U.S. Rep Tom Cole clears up misconceptions.
What do you make of the August report by the Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee that said Representative Paul Ryan’s budget would cut $375 million from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and $637 million from the Indian Health Service (IHS)?
They’re trying to make something partisan that’s not partisan. Their numbers are totally fallacious.
These guys don’t have to make up numbers; they can look at real numbers. If they want to know what the Ryan budget means in Indian country, they ought to just look at what the House has done under the Ryan budget in 2011 and 2012, and what it would propose doing in 2013. If they looked at both IHS and BIA, they’d find that in each of those years House Republicans actually appropriated more for both than the Obama administration even requested. This idea that a Ryan budget means cuts in Indian programs is simply not true. We have evidence that while it lowers overall government spending, it also allows us to reprioritize where the money goes.
And on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior and Environment, where I sit, there’s a bipartisan commitment to increasing funding in Indian country well beyond what the White House has asked for. We have a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who recognize the Indian country has been historically underfunded.
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