Tester to Montana Tribal leaders: Your voices must be heard on impacts of federal budget

(U.S. SENATE)-Senator Jon Tester today asked Montana Tribal leaders for their input on how President Obama’s budget proposal will impact Indian Country.

Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Tribal leaders across the state to provide an opportunity for them to weigh in regarding the overall federal budget, and how it impacts their communities, their businesses and their families.

“It is vital that Congress live up to its trust responsibilities and honor the sacred agreements between tribal nations and the federal government,” Tester wrote. “It is my responsibility to ensure that your voices are heard as Congress prepares to address the budget.”

In the letter, Tester outlined key provisions in the President’s proposed budget that affect Indian Country, including funding for education, healthcare, housing, natural resource development, and public safety.

“While there is a lot of positive upward momentum for Indian Country represented in these proposed numbers, I know there are still large divides between what Indian Country needs, and what the budget provides for,” Tester wrote.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester promised to review the details in upcoming budget hearings and be a voice for rural America during the budget process.

Last week, Tester helped pass four bipartisan bills out of the Indian Affairs Committee to improve tribal self-determination, economic development, education, and child protection.

The full letter to Montana tribes can be read HERE.