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Mr. STANTON. Madam Speaker, I want to commend Chair DeLauro and Chair Pingree for their work on this bill and the significant progress it makes in addressing so many issues that have impacted tribes across the nation, including Arizona.
This is by far the most funding provided to tribal nations in the history of our country, and I appreciate your commitment to consulting with tribal governments as this bill was drafted
The bill before us includes funding for staffing newly opened health facilities. Very near my district, the River People's Health Center, located on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community Reservation, is one of these new facilities.
I am grateful it would fully fund the Indian Health Service's (IHS) request for staff at the River People Health Center, and that language is included to ensure the facility will receive staffing funding should the opening date come earlier than IHS currently projects.
However, I also understand that the Community has raised concerns with the IHS that the funding request does not include 11 positions that are in the original authorized staffing plan for the Health Center.
Unfortunately, while the Community sent a letter more than two months ago requesting clarification and justification for this discrepancy, they have yet to receive a response.
While this issue is being worked out between the Community and IHS, I would ask that the Committee continue to work with me to ensure the final bill will fully fund the authorized staffing levels and 638 contracts for the newly-opened facilities, as agreed to in the final contract between the tribe and the federal government.
Chairwoman Chellie Pingree:
I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona for raising this concern and for his consistent support for strong funding for Tribal Nations. I am proud to say that our subcommittee has strongly supported Tribal priorities and programs, because we know that these accounts are still far underfunded and oversubscribed.
I also want to thank him for his support of the Indian Health Services' River People's Health Center on the Salt River Reservation. I am very pleased that this bill provides the funding necessary to open this new facility and others across the nation. With the pandemic still raging in many parts of the Country, it is essential that we get these facilities up and running as soon as possible.
Staffing for new facilities is an issue we closely monitor. We look forward to updates on negotiations between the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and IHS and will work with our colleagues in the Senate as the situation evolves.
I thank Madam Chair for her support. I look forward to working with her and supporting the wellbeing of our Tribal communities
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