FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Meredith Raimondi, 202-544-0344, mraimondi@NCUIH.org
November 4, 2019
Press Release: Senate Passes First FY 2020 Appropriations Minibus with Interior Spending Package
Minibus includes $53 million for Urban Indian Health
The Senate passed its first fiscal 2020 spending package on Thursday, as lawmakers have only a few weeks left to prevent a government shutdown. This approximately $332 billion package, cleared the full Senate by a final vote of 84-9, and included spending bills for the departments of Interior, Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Transportation-HUD.
The House minibus was passed in June, under H.R. 3055. The Senate minibus, known as minibus #2, provides a lower overall funding level for the Indian Health Service (IHS) at roughly $6 billion in FY 2020, compared to $6.3 billion under the House minibus. So far, negotiations between the House and Senate on a final spending package has shown little to no progress, as the current Continuing Resolution (CR) is set to expire on November 21, 2019.
According to the House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) another stopgap measure through February or March would most likely be necessary - although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) publicly declare all twelve FY 2020 appropriations bills will be completed by the beginning of the New Year.
The National Council of Urban Indian Health has tirelessly advocated both the House and the Senate to increase the urban Indian health line item. In May, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill that included an approximated $30 million increase for urban Indian health care in the Indian Health Service budget- bringing funding to $81 million for Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs). Shortly after, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a $35 billion Interior spending package to include a recommendation of $53 million for the Urban Indian Health program, an approximate increase of almost $2 million above the current enacted level.