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Soon after Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) was elected speaker of the House on Wednesday, the National Indian Health Board announced that in his campaign to become speaker, he sent out a Dear Colleague Letter outlining his goals and projected timelines for action.

The letter includes finishing Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 federal spending sometime after the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires November 17, 2023.  

In order to finish spending negotiations, Speaker Johnson proposes to his Republican colleagues a second CR funding the federal government through either January 15 or April 15, whichever can obtain Republican Conference consensus. 

His letter did not include guarantees to keep the federal government funded to avoid a shutdown. His proposal to reach consensus on short term funding had no parameters. This means that changes in law including cuts and across-the-board rescissions could be back in the discussion.

Most concerning to Indian Country is Speaker Johnson’s letter did not mention renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) (or other key health extensions) that will also expire on November 17. A 2-year renewal for SDPI has widespread bipartisan support, but it has not yet been considered by the full House or Senate.  

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN)  have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes than any racial or ethnic group in the United States. However, thanks to SDPI, that statistic is improving.  

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Call to Action

Contact your congressional representative and let them know Native lives are not a political bargaining chip, to keep the government funded, and to oppose any spending cuts to tribal programs across Indian Country. And, to fund SDPI, a highly effective program that is saving lives in Indian Country.

Find Your Represenative.

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The Native News Health Desk is made possible by a generous grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation as well as sponsorship support from the American Dental Association. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online. 
About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].