Tester: We must demonstrate our commitment to tribes
Senator urges greater support for Indian communities
Senator Jon Tester is urging President Obama to provide needed support for Indian Country so tribes in Montana and nationwide can deliver critical community services and grow their economies.
Tester, Montana's only member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, today told the President that the federal government's trust obligations in Indian Country must be honored. He reminded Obama that the devastating effects of sequestration prevented Indian communities from meeting basic needs like health, education, housing, and law enforcement - and these effects continue to impact tribes in Montana and around the country.
"Sequestration and the destructive government shutdown have made Indian Country's challenges more difficult, but the federal government's trust obligation to fulfill the unmet need in our tribal communities remains," Tester told President Obama's budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell. "We must demonstrate our commitment to tribes by adequately funding the necessary health, education, housing, law enforcement, and economic development programs that help build and sustain tribal sovereignty."
With Tester's support, Congress recently passed bipartisan legislation to replace the sequester and allow for investments in core national priorities like education, infrastructure and health care.
Tester did thank the President for working with tribes on a nation-to-nation basis and holding an annual White House Tribal Nations Conference.
Tester, a strong advocate for all of Montana's tribes, recently introduced a bill to preserve Native languages and help strengthen Indian culture and education.
Tester's letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, which is also signed by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), is available below.