Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

Indian Health, Bureau of Indian Affairs see a budget increase Mark Trahant / Indian Country Today The federal government’s newly enacted budget is a massive “omnibus” act that spends $1.3 trillion and makes some members of Congress pleased and others angry. It’s a document that reflects a broken budget system. And, at the same time, …

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  Cross posted on Indian Country Today. Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports A special election in Pennsylvania is a good sign for Native American #NativeVote18 candidates running for office. Why? Because this cycle is already favoring out-of-power Democrats and, quite possibly, independents. It’s hard to peg any constituent group more out-of-power than those who would …

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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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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 Turns out we’ve been worried about the wrong, Andrew. The Republican tax plan, President Donald J. Trump’s signature legislation, would make Andrew Mellon proud. Andrew Mellon was a wealthy industrialist who served in government as the Secretary of Treasury. Here’s what Trump’s own Treasury Department says about Mellon: “As the Nation …

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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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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports A year ago ballots from across the country were being examined by citizens, journalists, and politicians, who were all wondering, “What the hell just happened?” The nation woke up to a President-elect Donald J. Trump. And this morning? The Trump brand is like an overpriced hotel where you would never, …

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