Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

This week I am teaching map making in my reporting class. As I was thinking through how to do that, I was thinking, “I ought to build a map.” What kind of map? Well, it would be cool to show where every American Indian or Alaska Native is running for office. At the federal level, …

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** Updated, Oct. 30. ** Omnibus is a Latin word that means “for all.” In legislation it means cramming everything into a bill that you think can pass. That’s exactly what the House did with its two-year $80 billion spending bill. That bill lifts caps from the Budget Control Act, or the sequester, and it …

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So what is going on with Congress? One Speaker of the House retires. Another says he’s in — until he’s out. And it’s hard to keep track of what all this means for Indian Country. Let’s break it down. As I have written before there are really three parties in Congress these days: Democrats, Republicans …

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Once again Congress is finding it impossible to pass spending bills — and time is running out. The federal government appropriates money and runs its programs from October 1st through the end of September. The House and the Senate are supposed to enact appropriations and then pass on that legislation to the president for his signature. That …

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Presidential Debate season begins on August 6 MARK TRAHANT What do you do with sixteen candidates? It’s a thorny problem for Republicans. Why’s that? Because right now one of those candidates, Donald Trump, is loud enough to drown out all the other “major” candidates. Wouldn’t it be fun if the nomination contest was more like a …

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One more state adds “new money” to the Indian health system via Medicaid MARK TRAHANT These days “new” money is hard to find. That’s the kind of money that’s added to a budget, money that allows programs to expand, try out new ideas, and look for ways to make life better. Most government budgets are doing …

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MARK TRAHANT A new White House report details the economic impact of Medicaid expansion and is sharply critical of the 22 states that have not done so. The report is titled, “Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid.” I like that: Missed opportunities. Why? Because this Council of Economic Advisers’ 44-page …

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Nevada will be the first state where Native voters weigh in MARK TRAHANT The first ballots for the 2016 presidential election will be cast in a little more than seven months. That means between now and January there will be a rush of candidates, a winnowing of those who fail to raise money or attention, …

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