Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment offered by my friend and colleague from Virginia.
Honoring our Nation's obligations to American Indians and Alaskan Natives is an unshakable bipartisan sentiment shared by Members of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and is an accomplishment in this bill that I am most proud of. This bill increases funding for Indian Health Services by $392 million over the current fiscal year while almost virtually everything else is being cut, a 10 percent increase that also happens to be one of the rare and, by far, the largest increases in this bill.
This bill includes the same $19 billion cut for sanitation facilities that was proposed by the President. And I note that the President's Indian Health Service budget was an additional $162 million higher than this bill.
The problem is the offset. The BLM's management of land resources account has already been cut by $43.5 million below the FY 2011 and $15.5 million below the President's budget request. This account funds the management of the BLM's more than 245 million surface acres and 700 million subsurface acres. Further cuts to this account are not appropriate.
Mr. Chairman, am I proud of the increases we were able to provide in this bill and in previous bills by my predecessors Mr. Moran and Mr. Dicks? You bet I am. Will I continue to fight for more funding for Indian country despite the attacks from virtually every other interest group who isn't happy with their share of the pie? You bet I will. Will I stand by and let my friend and colleague from Virginia continue to systematically dismantle the budget of the largest landowner in
the West, the BLM? Absolutely not. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. DICKS. I support my friend from Virginia's (Mr. Moran) amendment which would increase funding for the Indian Health Service sanitary facilities construction program. The amendment would provide $18 million for this important health program, which would bring the funding level back up to the enacted level for this year. The offset for this increase comes from a couple of programs that help support the private sector energy and livestock industries.
I think this amendment is a very good deal for the American taxpayer. And, by the way, if you've ever been out in Indian country, one of the problems that they have is a lack of sanitary facilities. I can think of the Skokomish Indians in my district in Mason County, Washington, where they have a very serious need for new sanitary facilities. And across Indian country, this is still a major problem. In fact, there was a group of scientists a few years ago who were asked, What was the greatest
thing that happened in the 20th century to improve health care? They came up with sewers and sanitary facilities as the thing that improved health care around the world the most substantially.
The Indian Health Service program to construct sanitary facilities that would benefit from this amendment improves the lives of some of our poorest fellow citizens. The Indian Health Service program provides funding for people who often lack basic sanitary facilities, such as the delivery of potable water to their homes. For me, the choice is simple. I urge my colleagues to choose to help provide basic sanitation to Native Americans by making small cuts to programs that assist the energy and
livestock industries. This is a good amendment and should be adopted.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I rise to also support the Moran amendment for providing more access to clean drinking water.
And to Chairman Simpson's point, we did do a good job working together to significantly improve the quality of life in Indian country, and we did that working together. But one area in which some of us felt we could have done a little better is in the area of Indian sanitation. We're seeking to put the funding level back to where this Chamber had it in FY 2011, not a cut. And the way that we're asking to do that--and I will speak to the issue of grazing because I offered the amendment
in the full Appropriations Committee--is to ask cattle ranchers to pay a fair fee to graze their cattle. A fee of $1.35, as Mr. Moran pointed out, is less than what most States are charging for the use of their public lands. And it is significantly less, as I found in some information gathering that I did, than the private sector charges for the use of their lands.
When we have our lands at $1.35, not only is it not of benefit to the taxpayers, but it leads to overgrazing of our lands, which does nothing to help improve the quality of public lands for [Page: H5445]
future generations of cattle ranchers. Fifteen million dollars to grazers in this bill, $4 million to oil and gas. And the numbers again: 230,000 Native American homes without sanitation facilities; 34,000 homes without clean, safe drinking water.
No infant and no child in this country or in Indian country should be at risk of gastrointestinal disease rates that are found in Third World countries. Let us provide the same level of funding that we had in the FY 2011 bill for Indian sanitation. Let us support clean drinking water for our children.
I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. MORAN. I very much thank the distinguished ranking member of the full Appropriations Committee.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Cleaver).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.