Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Budgets are statements: This is what “we” care about.  It’s money that reveals priorities. The “we” could be, and ought to be, the country. Or the “we” could be a presidential administration that’s not really equipped to govern. So there will be lots of stories this year, like last year, …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The November election seems far off. It’s almost a year away, right? Sorry. Elections are a series of steps that lead to that moment when ballots are actually counted.  And for the #NativeVote18 candidates some of those early steps are real tests. And in Minnesota one of those critical test …

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Updated Sunday. Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The government is in its official shut down mode. And it’s a fight that has been brewing for a long time. It’s complicated because there are several different congressional factions, think of them as mini-political parties, that have different goals. Remember this: The Republicans are in charge. This process …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Trump administration, and its allies in Congress, are fighting a losing war. They continue to press forward for the development of oil, gas, coal, when the rest of the world understands the implication of that folly. Global warming is the most pressing issue for our time. Period. The thing is …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports What qualifications are needed to manage (and possibly reform?) the Indian health system? It’s Indian Country’s largest employer with more than 15,000 on the payroll and many, many more people who work in health care for tribes, non-profits and other related agencies. The IHS budget is $6.1 billion. Yet it’s …

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Correction: The chart I originally published was misleading. The CBO score for the tax bill (and most of the other measures) looks at the cost over ten years. Appropriations are made in a single year. So that made the tax bill appear more costly in visual form. I am working on a new version now, …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Congress has yet to reenact the Children’s Health Insurance Program and states will soon run out of funds to prop up the program. That will mean that thousands of American Indian and Alaska Native children will lose their health insurance. And, the result is the Indian Health Service will have …

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Why Indian Country should have a voice in this debate Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports There is no better way for any legislature — be it a tribal council, a state assembly, or a Congress — to telegraph what’s most important to a society than through tax policy. How a government collects revenue says what …

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Updated. Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Here we go again. The Congress is hell bent on wrecking the Affordable Care Act. This time the mechanism is the so-called tax reform bill that will be voted in the U.S. Senate. The logic is rich (and, yes, “rich” is absolutely the right word and sentiment) because this …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Three lessons from  last week’s election results. First: Gerrymandering can be defeated. The election districts in Virginia were designed to support incumbents, and especially Republicans. The Atlantic described the “well-documented” Republican operation to gain “control of the mapmaking process in 2010 (and) saw their share of legislative seats steadily grow, …

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