Murkowski Presses Salazar for Follow-Through on BIA Audits

Senator Makes Certain Tribes Being Consulted on 477 Changes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today asked Interior Secretary Salazar whether the Bureau of Indian Affairs is collaborating with Alaska Natives as new oversight rules are being considered by the Obama Administration.  “In last year’s appropriations bill, we inserted language that stated that consultation with the tribes must occur before any changes to the 477 program move forward,” Murkowski said. “How is that consultation coming along?”

Secretary Salazar informed her that indeed, consultation is occurring within the Interior Department.  “Work groups are meeting every week on this issue and we hope to find resolution.”

The 477 program is funding that goes toward employment, training, and related services for Alaska Natives, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.  The Obama Administration has proposed changes to its auditing – despite any reported mistakes or problems – that are extremely time- and labor-intensive to comply with.

She had the opportunity to ask the question during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies – where she is the ranking Republican.