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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country recently.

Rep. Sharice Davids on the Gridlock in Congress

Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat now serving her third in Congress from Kansas' third congressional district and a tribal citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation, says she knows people are frustrated by the gridlock in Congress. 

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"I know people are sick and tired of partisan gridlock because I’ve felt that same frustration myself. The last thing anyone needs right now is more extremism in either party. That’s why more than seven out of every ten bills I’m supporting are bipartisan." Davids said in a statement. "I'm serving you to bring a new generation of leadership to Washington. My mom raised my brothers and me on her own while serving in the Army and then in the Postal Service. I later worked my way through college and am still paying off my student loans."

Davids cited her work with Rep. Mark Alford (R-MO) to pass a bipartisan bill to help veteran-owned small businesses. Our bill helps connect veterans with resources to grow their businesses and hire additional employees.

Interior Department Announces $10 Million from President''s Investing in America Agenda for Tribal Irrigation & Power Projects

The Department of the Interior today announced a $10 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to upgrade and modernize Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-owned irrigation projects and power utilities serving Tribal communities. The funding for fiscal year 2024 is part of a five-year, $50 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an important provider of water and electricity to the Tribal communities where it operates irrigation and power systems,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is allowing us to continue fulfilling our trust responsibility for Tribal public health and safety by ensuring that BIA-owned and operated irrigation projects and power utilities are well-maintained and functioning properly.”  

Projects receiving funding include:  

Irrigation  

The Fort Hall Indian Irrigation Project on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho will receive $7 million to rehabilitate and modernize the Bannock Pump Station, which will improve water delivery and modernize its electrical and structural components.  

The Project provides irrigation water to over 72,000 acres with an estimated direct harvest benefit of over $100 million. The investment will improve efficiency and ensure long-term functionality of the pumping facility and build on previously announced funding of $1.5 million.  

Power  

The funding announced today will augment ongoing infrastructure projects at the following BIA-owned power utilities:  

  • Colorado River Agency Electrical Services on the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Arizona and California will receive a combined $1 million in a continuation of funding to support the overhaul of power plant generating units.  
  • San Carlos Irrigation Project - Power Division in Arizona will receive $1 million to continue upgrades, repairs and replacements of substation and electrical transmission infrastructure.  
  • Mission Valley Power on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana will receive $1 million to support repairs and upgrades to its Charlo substation, as well as upgrade and relocate its Finley substation. This investment will reduce the risk of failure while also increasing efficiency and safety.  

These investments build on $2 million that each of these power projects have already received from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law over the past two years.  

For more information, visit the BIA’s interactive map on projects in Tribal communities funded through the bureau under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

IHS and VA Announce New Interactive Map for Native Veterans

Indian Health Service (IHS) Director Roselyn Tso and Veterans Administration (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough recently released a joint video on the launch of a new interactive map to "Find Health Care & Resources for Native Veterans ." The map provides a centralized location for users to find Veterans Health Administration and IHS-funded Urban Indian Organization services across all 50 states and American territories. These include health centers, dental care, behavioral and substance abuse treatment, residential options, and more.

Save the Date – HHS Annual Tribal Budget Consultation on April 9-10, 2024

The U.S. Health and Services (HHS) invites tribal leaders to consult on national health and human services funding priorities for the Department's FY 2026 budget request. The annual consultation will take place in-person on April 9-10 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, DC. The event will consist of a Tribal Resource Session, one-on-one Tribal meetings with HHS Divisions, a discussion on Executive Order 14112 ( Reforming Federal Funding and Support for Tribal Nations to Better Embrace Our Trust Responsibilities and Promote the Next Era of Tribal Self-Determination), and a full-day consultation on funding recommendations. Written comments will be accepted through April 12 at 5:00pm EST and may be delivered to [email protected] with the subject line "HHS Annual Tribal Budget Consultation."

As in previous years, HHS will host two planning sessions to work with Tribes to prepare for the consultation. These will take place on March 6 and March 20 from 3:00 to 3:30pm EST. Separate registrations for the April consultation and the planning sessions is required. Please see this Dear Tribal Leader Letter for more details.

 

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