Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District released the following statement after voting against piecemeal legislation last night that locks in sequestration funding levels on tribal programs and fails to restore many critical services for Native American communities.
"This piecemeal approach to fund the government fails to meet our trust responsibility to our Native American brothers and sisters. Not one tribe or tribal organization supports this course of action because it would lock in sequestration cuts that are devastating tribal programs.
"Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly called this approach "insulting' and said tribal nations want a comprehensive resolution as well as an end to the sequester. By taking piecemeal steps to fund our government, this bill fails to restore many critical services that are important to tribal communities, and in fact, makes the problems facing Indian Country worse, not better. With this bill, Republicans have ignored the role that other federal departments play in providing services to tribal communities. Tribes rely on services from the Department of Housing, the Department of Justice, and many other parts of our federal government, which are not covered through this piecemeal legislation.
"It is time to act on a clean continuing resolution that reopens the entire federal government and then get to work on a solution that undoes the deep cuts of the sequester."