On February 4, 2014 Congress passed the “Farm Bill” which authorizes funding for federal agricultural and nutrition programs for the next five years. Although it was disappointing that the SNAP program was cut by $8.6 billion dollars, hurting millions of families that struggle to put food on the table, there were other parts of the bill that will help Indian Country. Here is a highlight of some of those changes shared by the National Congress of American Indians:
Feasibility Study, Report, and Demonstration Project for
Montana has the chance to provide 70,000 people with high-quality health coverage by accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid to those whose incomes are less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. For a single person, this means earning less than $15,857, and for a family a three, less than $26,951.
Here’s why it’s such a good idea:
Welcome to Charted Territory, the new blog from the Montana Budget and Policy Center.
Montana is at a crossroads. We face many challenges – reducing poverty, growing our economy, creating jobs, and ensuring access to health care. There are so many possible directions we could turn that sometimes it feels like we are lost in uncharted territory.
We aim to give Montanans a map to these crucial issues, using accurate information and clear, non-partisan analysis to provide timely commentary.
[caption id="attachment_799" align="alignleft" width="135"] Photo courtesy of Laura John[/caption]
In 2012, Montana Budget & Policy Center launched a collaborative project to improve access to information on how budget and policy decisions impact Montana’s Native Americans. State and federal budgets both play a significant role in relieving poverty and building economic opportunity in Indian Country and have a significant impact on the lives of American Indians living both on and off reservations in Montana.
Montana has a unique opportunity to improve healthcare for American Indians by expanding Medicaid. If Montana policymakers choose to take advantage of this opportunity, American Indians who are newly eligible for Medicaid, including those who rely on Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities, will see improvements in their healthcare.
A strong economy allows for the creation and retention of local jobs, the establishment and growth of businesses, and the ability to keep money in the local community. There, those dollars have multiplying effects that drive economic growth, especially in Indian Country.
Across the nation, the original languages of American Indians are vanishing at an alarming rate, taking with them a vital piece of the culture of our first people. Now, the 2013 Legislature has the opportunity to help preserve the languages of Montana’s tribes. The proposal being considered, SB 342, would establish tribal language programs in reservation schools and engage American Indian youth in saving their languages.
The twelve tribal Nations and seven Indian reservations of Montana encompass richly complex diversity, cultures, histories, talents, and resources. The tribal Nations and their members have contributed immeasurably to the development to the state’s history, culture, and economy. Unfortunately, just as Montana’s tribes influenced our nation’s and our state’s development, the U.S. government has had a profound and sometimes devastating impact on the nation’s American Indian population.
The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides many funding opportunities for tribal governments. Some of these opportunities are contained in Montana’s House Bill 645, the state appropriation of federal stimulus dollars.This brief outlines some of the funding opportunities for tribal governments in HB 645.