On June 4, 2015, Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation to exempt the Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other Indian programs from the mandatory sequestration expected for the FY-2016 fiscal year.

“Across-the-board budget cuts presented a major setback for Indian Country, forcing cuts to vital programs that New Mexico tribal communities depend on,” Udall said. “We have a trust responsibility to uphold to tribes, and I’m pleased to work with Senator Tester on this legislation to ensure that important health care, education, public safety and housing programs that support economic growth in Indian Country won’t be subject to future disastrous sequestration cuts.”

“Congress must uphold its trust responsibilities rather than balancing the budget on the backs of folks in Indian Country,” Tester said. “This bill prevents further damaging cuts to health care, education, public safety, and housing for Native American families.”

The negative impacts of sequestration on Indian programs include a $220 million cut to Indian Health Services. To learn more about the impact of sequestration on Indian Country visit NCAI.