ANHB President and CEO, Verné Boerner, provided testimony to Congress on September 25, 2019. The Legislative Hearing, entitled Advance Appropriations: Protecting Tribal Communities from the Effects of a Government Shutdown, was before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. Ms. Boerner was one of many Tribal leaders who discussed the impacts that government shutdowns have on Tribal operations and patient care, highlighting the positive impacts that advance appropriations authority would give to Indian health programs.
The hearing focused on two pieces of legislation introduced during the 116th Congress. The first was H.R. 1128, the Indian Programs Advance Appropriations Act, introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum. H.R. 1128 seeks to authorize advance appropriations for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Indian Health Services. The second bill was H.R. 1135, the Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act, introduced by Congressman Don Young. H.R. 1135 seeks to provide advance appropriations authority only to the Indian Health Service. Congressman Young has introduce similar bills in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses and has been a long-time advocate of advance appropriations authority for the Indian Health Service.
Each of the House bills also now has a Senate companion legislation. On September 25, 2019, Senator Lisa Murkowski’s Office introduce a companion bill to H.R. 1135, S. 2541. The bill was introduced with Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) as original co-sponsors. The companion legislation to H.R. 1128 is S. 229, introduced by Senator Udall’s Office. Currently, the entire Alaska Congressional delegation supports Indian Health Service advance appropriations authority.
Below is a copy of Ms. Boerner’s testimony.
Video of the Subcommittee Hearing.