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Public Statements

Tribal School Construction

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANKEN. Madam President, I rise today to discuss tribal school construction funding--an issue that is central to the academic wellbeing and intellectual development of tribal children across the country.

It goes without saying that all kids need clean, safe places to study.

And making sure that every child gets a good education, in a safe, clean environment will benefit our economy and our society as a whole. Unfortunately, many Indian kids attending schools run by the Bureau of Indian Education are forced to study in aging facilities that should be replaced.

As Senators, we have responsibilities to all children in our States to ensure that they all have access to safe and clean school buildings. The Federal Government has a particular responsibility to the tribes that includes taking care of tribal schools. That is why I offered an amendment to the continuing resolution with Senators Tom Udall, Tim Johnson, Klobuchar, Heitkamp, and Heinrich, to secure funding for tribal school buildings that need to be replaced.

In these times of tight budgets, everyone is making sacrifices. Programs across the Federal Government are forced to make difficult cuts and to do more with less. School construction is one small but vital program that I believe should continue to be funded. I was disappointed that the administration's fiscal year 2013 budget did not include funding for Indian school replacement construction.

I ask the Senator if it would be fair to say that the absence of funding for tribal school construction replacement in this CR should not be seen as a lack of support for this activity in future appropriations bills?

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Mr. FRANKEN. The continuing resolution we are now considering is needed to get us through the last 6 months of this fiscal year. It is my hope that as we return to a more regular appropriations process for fiscal year 2014, we can refocus on this important priority to support Indian school construction. I ask the Senator, would he be willing to work with me and our colleagues on that?

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