This Memorandum covers the final FY 2015 funding levels for selected programs of interest to tribes and Indian organizations in the Agriculture and Related Agencies appropriations bill. It is included in the Consolidated and Furthering Appropriations Act, 2015 (Act) (HR 83, PL 113-235) which was signed into law on December 16, 2014. Agriculture Department funding is included in Division A of the Act. The Act provides funding for 11 of the 12 appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year, but only provides funding through February 2015 for the Department of Homeland Security. A Managers’ Explanatory Statement (Managers’ Statement) accompanies the Act, rather than a formal conference report. The Managers’ Statement provides the following guidance regarding the House and Senate Committee reports accompanying the bill (H. Rept. 114-468; S. Rept. 113-164):
The House and Senate report language that is not changed by the explanatory statement is approved and indicates congressional intentions. The explanatory statement, while repeating some report language for emphasis, does not intend to negate the language referred to above unless expressly provided herein.
The Managers’ Explanatory Statement and the Act are printed in the December 11, 2014, CONGRESSIONAL RECORD (Parts I and II).
Most programs reported on in this Memorandum were funded at their FY 2014 levels, although there is a $41 million increase over FY 2014 for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. Congress did not approve the Administration’s requested increases in the telecommunications area.
We attach a paper from the Department of Agriculture entitled “USDA Tribal Accomplishments” which provides considerable detail regarding funding provided to tribes in FY 2014 under many of the Department’s programs.
Office of Tribal Relations
FY 2014 Enacted $498,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $502,000
FY 2015 Enacted $502,000
Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program
FY 2014 Enacted $3,039,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $3,039,000
FY 2015 Enacted $3,039,000
Under the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program, state land grant universities provide education and resources for tribes in areas including range management, wildlife and fisheries enhancement, and education for adults and youth.
Tribal Colleges Extension Services
FY 2014 Enacted $4,446,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $4,446,000
FY 2015 Enacted $4,446,000
Funds are awarded competitively tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). TCUs are land-grant institutions and the Extension Services Program is to be a component of their land-grant roadmap or strategic planning processes. Activities range from food security; adaption to of agriculture to climate change; education to reduce childhood and adolescent obesity and diabetes; and sustainable energy.
Native American Institutions Endowment Fund (tribal colleges)
FY 2014 Enacted $11,880,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $11,880,000
FY 2015 Enacted $11,880,000
The Senate Report explains:
The Native American Institutions Endowment Fund authorized by Public Law 103-382 provides an endowment for the 1994 land-grant institutions (34 tribally controlled colleges). This program will enhance educational opportunity for Native Americans by building educational capacity at these institutions in the areas of student recruitment and retention, curricula development, faculty preparation, instruction delivery systems, and scientific instrumentation for teaching. Income funds are also available for facility renovation, repair, construction, and maintenance. On the termination of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall withdraw the income from the endowment fund for the fiscal year, and after making adjustments for the cost of administering the endowment fund, distribute the adjusted income as follows: 60 percent of the adjusted income from these funds shall be distributed among the 1994 land-grant institutions on a pro rata basis, the proportionate share being based on the Indian student count; and 40 percent of the adjusted income shall be distributed in equal shares to the 1994 land-grant institutions. (S. Rpt. 113-164, p.25)
The $11.8 million appropriation is not scored as an outlay as it remains in the Treasury. The interest on the funds, which is currently $4.8 million, is counted in the year it is distributed which will be FY 2015.
1994 Institutions Equity Grants (tribal colleges)
FY 2014 Enacted $3,439,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $3,439,000
FY 2015 Enacted $3,439,000
1994 Institution Research Initiative (tribal colleges)
FY 2014 Enacted $1,801,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $1,801,000
FY 2015 Enacted $1,801,000
Every two years the tribal colleges compete for these funds.
Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian-Serving Higher Education Institutions
FY 2014 Enacted $3,194,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $3,194,000
FY 2015 Enacted $3,194,000
The Act provides that the funds are to be divided equally between institutions in Hawaii and Alaska.
Rural Housing Service
FY 2014 Enacted $1,694,738,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $1,625,880,000
FY 2015 Enacted $1,713,460,000
Included in the total is $4 million for Community Facility Grants for Tribal Colleges and Universities (same as FY 2014 enacted and the FY 2015 request) and $4 million for a Rural Community Development Initiative “to develop the capacity and ability of private, nonprofit community-based housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities, and Federally Recognized Native American Tribes to undertake projects to improve housing, community facilities, community and economic development projects in rural areas.” This Initiative was funded at $5.9 million in FY 2014.
USDA reports that in 2014 they made 116 direct home loans to American Indian/Alaska Native homeowners totaling $214.8 million; Single Family Housing Loan Guarantees for American Indian/Alaska Native homeowners totaling $133.3 million; and 229 grants and loans to elderly and very low income American Indians/Alaska Native homeowners for housing improvements totaling $1.4 million.
Rural Business Program Subsidy and Grants
FY 2013 Enacted $83,745,000
FY 2014 Request $51,777,000
FY 2014 Enacted $96,539,000
Included in the total is $4 million for business grants for federally recognized tribes. Within the $4 million is $250,000 “for a grant to a qualified national organization to provide technical assistance for rural transportation in order to promote economic development.”
Among the programs funded under this account are the Rural Business Enterprise and Rural Business Opportunity grants. In FY 2014 there were 18 awards to tribes totaling $2.7 million under the Rural Business Enterprise Program and 11 awards to tribes totaling $812,000 under the Rural Business Opportunity program.
Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program Loan Subsidy
FY 2013 Enacted $ 7,385,000
FY 2014 Admin. Request $12,324,000
FY 2014 Enacted $ 5,800,000
The Act reserves $531,000 of these funds for federally recognized tribes.
Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Subsidy and Grants
FY 2014 Enacted $462,400,000 FY 2015 Admin. Request $304,000,000
FY 2015 Enacted $464,857,000
Included in the total is:
• $66.5 million in loans and grants for Native Americans, including Native Alaskans, the Colonias, and residents of Hawaiian Homelands
• $800,000 for a qualified national Native American organization to provide technical assistance for rural water systems for tribal communities
• $16 million for a circuit rider program to provide technical assistance for rural water systems
Indian Tribal Land Acquisition Loans
FY 2014 Enacted $2,000,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $2,000,000
FY 2015 Enacted $2,000,000
The Senate Report describes the use of the loans as being:
Made to any Indian tribe recognized by the Secretary of Interior or tribal corporation established pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act (Public Law 93-638) which does not have adequate uncommitted funds to acquire lands or interest in lands within the tribe’s reservation or Alaskan Indian community, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, for use of the tribe or the corporation or the members hereof. (S. Rept. 113-164, p. 44)
Indian Highly Fractionated Land Loans
FY 2014 Enacted $10,000,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $10,000,000
FY 2015 Enacted $10,000,000
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/ Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
FY 2014 Enacted $ 82.2 billion
FY 2015 Admin. Request $105.3 billion
FY 2015 Enacted $ 81.8 billion
Included in the total is $145 million for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) which is $41 million above the FY 2014 level. In addition, bill language provides that $998,000 of the $81.8 billion may be used “to provide nutrition education services to state agencies and Federally recognized tribes participating in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.” Currently 100 tribal organizations and 5 states administer the FDPIR program.
The Senate Report states with regard to the purchase of bison for the FDPIR program:
The Committee encourages the Secretary to continue the purchase of bison from producer-owned and Native American owned cooperatives for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. Although funding is not provided specifically for bison purchase, historically these purchases have been important for the Native American population both economically and nutritionally. (S. Rept. 113-164, p. 70).
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
FY 2014 Enacted $6.7 billion
FY 2015 Admin. Request $6.8 billion
FY 2015 Enacted $6.6 billion
Currently 34 tribal organizations administer the WIC program.
Distance Learning and Telemedicine – Grants
FY 2014 Enacted $24,323,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $24,950,000
FY 2015 Enacted $22,000,000
USDA reports that in 2014 they provided 26 Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants totaling $49.6 million to entities serving tribal lands.
Broadband Telecommunications – Loan authorization
FY 2014 Enacted $34,483,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $44,238,000
FY 2015 Enacted $24,077,000
Broadband Telecommunications – Direct
FY 2014 Enacted $4,500,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $8,268,000
FY 2015 Enacted $4,500,000
Broadband Telecommunications – Grants
FY 2014 Enacted $10,372,000
FY 2015 Admin. Request $20,372,000
FY 2015 Enacted $10,372,000
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding FY 2015 appropriations for Department of Agriculture programs.