WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Nov. 17, the Senate passed HR 2112, which established fiscal 2012 funding for three combined federal budgets including Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS), Agriculture and Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD). President Obama is expected to sign the bill before the continuing resolution deadline on Nov. 19.
"In these times of economic austerity and budget cuts, we have secured funding for our most vulnerable citizens. This bill goes far in supporting all Native Americans including the Navajo Nation, seeking the basic necessities of food and shelter," said President Shelly.
The bill also contains funding for a continuing resolution for the nine remaining federal budgets at their fiscal 2011 levels. The continuing resolution will allow the government to operate until Dec. 16. The remaining nine budgets left for fiscal 2012 will be combined in a single piece of legislation called an omnibus appropriations bill.
Overall the CJS budget received $52.7 billion, a $387 million reduction from fiscal 2011. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture received $19.8 billion; a $391 million reduction from fiscal 2011 and the THUD budget received $55.6 billion, a $183 million increase over fiscal 2011 allocation.
As illustrated by the overall numbers, many agencies that fund the Navajo Nation are seeing reductions in their fiscal 2012 budgets. For instance, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) budget under the U.S. Dept. of Commerce was reduced by $26 million.
The THUD budget contains funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Native American Housing Block Grants. The Navajo Nation receives Indian Community Development Block Grants and Native American Housing and Self Determination Act Grants through the department.
The Navajo Housing Authority (NHA) is funded through a formula developed by HUD for the Native American Housing Block Grants. The funding for Native American Housing Block Grants will receive $650 million that will remain available until 2016. The spending measure includes language funding specifically for the Navajo Nation, unlike the previous House passed language.
A previous House version of the bill contained language that discriminated against the Navajo Nation. President Shelly worked successfully with the NHA staff and its board, and the Navajo Nation Council to oppose the House passed language.
The bill also provided funding through the U.S Department of Agriculture for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
WIC is a food and nutrition program for low-income women with children who have a nutritional risk. States and tribes are eligible to operate the WIC program. The federal WIC budget will receive $6.6 billion. SNAP will provide $80.4 billion in mandatory funding.