Hawaii will receive more than $53 million for Native Hawaiian health, education, and cultural preservation programs and will compete for additional funds included after the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LaborHHS) and the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Bills, Chairman Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced today.
The bills also include language that instructs the IRS to maintain fully staffed Taxpayer Advocate Service Centers in Hawaii and Alaska, including a Collection Technical Advisor and an Examination Technical Advisor, plus the current complement of office staff, to help address the difficulties experienced by taxpayers in Hawaii and Alaska in receiving services from the U.S. mainland and tax assistance from the national toll-free line.
Both bills were approved by a vote of 16 to 14 with Chairman Inouye voting in favor of each. The measures now go before the full Senate for a vote before proceeding to conference with the House.
"These funds are critical to addressing the unique healthcare and education needs of the Native Hawaiian people. Unfortunately, Native Hawaiians, compared to all other ethnic groups, are disproportionately susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Many have trouble gaining access to an affordable education and those who do may not stay the course and continue on to college. We must continue to do all we can to provide affordable healthcare and access to medical professionals and education for the indigenous people Hawaii," said Senator Inouye.
"The bills approved by the Appropriations Committee support education, health, labor, and economic development in Hawaii and across the nation," said Senator Akaka. "I look forward to supporting final approval of these investments before the full Senate."
"Many thanks to Chairman Inouye and the Senate Appropriations Committee for their continued and strong commitment to our Native Hawaiian community. These major investments address the needs of Native Hawaiian families, whether it's providing greater educational opportunities, making sure families receive proper health care, or that our kupuna are cared for," said Congresswoman Hirono. "We are also glad to see that the committee is maintaining fully-staffed Taxpayer Advocate Service Centers in Hawaii. This will go a long way toward helping our constituents resolve complex tax issues."
"These Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funds go directly to the heart of what we value in Hawaii. Caring for our community, reiterating our support for our host culture, and keeping our focus on health, education, and the needs of our seniors. I deeply appreciate the work of the Senate Appropriations Committee in providing this support, and for demonstrating again how we can maintain our commitment to helping those in need," said Congresswoman Hanabusa. "I also want to thank all who were involved in maintaining Hawaii's "temporary' fourth federal judgeship via the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill. There is no right more important to the American public than the right to timely access to our courts, and this judgeship helps maintain our federal judiciary's capacity to serve Hawaii."
FY2013 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations:
Department of Labor
$47.56 million Native American Programs that are designed to improved the economic well-being of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians
Department of Health and Human Services
$14 million Native Hawaiian Health Care
$1.96 million Kalaupapa Hansen's Disease Program
$21 million Children's Emergency Medical Services
$2 million Infertility Prevention Program
$48.58 million Native American Programs that are designed to promote self-sufficiency and cultural preservation activities among Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander organizations and communities
$27.6 million Aging Grants to Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations
$265 million Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education
Department of Education
$34.2 million Native Hawaiian Education Program
$12.9 million in discretionary and $15 million in mandatory funding for Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions
This program supports institutes of higher education whose student population includes at least 20 percent Alaska Natives or 10 percent Native Hawaiians, which means all of the schools in the University of Hawaii system and Chaminade University. The funds provided can be used for a wide range of activities to improve the institution to support the Native students.
FY2013 Financial Services and General Government:
Included in the Bill:
$12 million set-aside for Native-serving institutions within the Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The purpose of the CDFI Program is to use federal resources to invest in CDFIs and to build their capacity to serve low-income people and communities that lack access to affordable financial products and services.
$239 million, or level funding for the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program, which provides additional federal resources to those areas to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. Federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations within HIDTAs assess drug trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to reduce or eliminate the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and chronic use of illegal drugs and money laundering. Hawaii HIDTA is expected to receive $3 million.