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Updated February 4, 2021
The Bureau of Indian Affairs: FY2021 Appropriations
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), in the U.S. Department
BIA discretionary appropriations are provided through
of the Interior (DOI), administers programs for tribal
several accounts. Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) is
government, social services, law enforcement,
BIA’s largest account. Other accounts include Contract
infrastructure, and trust land and natural resources in Indian
Support Costs, Construction, Indian Land and Water Claim
Country. BIA plays a leading role in carrying out federal
Settlements and Miscellaneous Payments to Indians, and
trust, treaty, and other responsibilities to American Indians,
the Indian Guaranteed Loan Program. FY2021 enacted
Alaska Natives, and federally recognized tribes.
levels maintained or increased funding levels in all accounts
and established a new account—Payments for Tribal
This In Focus compares enacted BIA FY2021 discretionary
appropriations with President Trump’s request for FY2021
discretionary appropriations and enacted FY2020
Operation of Indian Programs
appropriations. Supplemental appropriations and the Bureau
The enacted level for OIP in FY2021 is $1,616.5 million,
of Indian Education (BIE) appropriations are not included.
an increase of 2.5% from $1,577.1 million in FY2020
Issues for Congress, such as the terms and conditions of a
enacted and an increase of 11.7% from $1,446.7 million in
new appropriations account, organizational changes, and
FY2021 requested. Table 2 shows FY2021 enacted,
funding for the Tiwahe Initiative, are discussed below.
FY2020 enacted, and FY2021 requested appropriations for
each OIP activity, several of which are discussed below. Of
Discretionary Appropriations Accounts
the FY2021 OIP total, $721.2 million is for tribal priority
Congress and the Administration generally provide
allocation (TPA) funding. TPA is a BIA budgetary tool that
discretionary appropriations to BIA in annual
allows direct involvement by tribes in setting priorities for
appropriations laws for the Department of the Interior,
their operating programs. TPA includes funds across
Environment, and Related Agencies. P.L. 116-260,
multiple activities as “guaranteed” base funding for tribes.
Division G, contained $2.159 billion in discretionary
appropriations for BIA in FY2021, an increase of 6.3%
Tribal Government (TG). The enacted level for TG in
from $2.032 billion in FY2020 enacted and appropriations
FY2021 is $341.0 million, an increase of 2.0% from $334.2
and an increase of 13.2% from $1.907 billion in the
million in FY2020 enacted and an increase of 1.1% from
FY2021 budget request. (See Table 1.)
$337.4 million in FY2021 requested. TG assists tribes in
strengthening government structures, such as funding for
Table 1. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Discretionary
newly recognized tribes, and supports self-governance
Appropriations by Account
through contracting and compacting of federal programs by
(dollars in millions)
tribes under the Indian Self-Determination and Education
Assistance Act (ISDEAA; 25 U.S.C. §§5301 et seq.). TG
includes New Tribes funding—available to tribes for three
fiscal years after federal recognition—for the Little Shell
Operation of Indian
Tribe of Chippewa Indians (federally recognized in 2019).
Human Services (HS). The FY2021 enacted level for HS
Contract Support
is $161.2 million, an increase of 3.5% from $155.7 million
in FY2020 enacted and an increase of 84.2% from $87.5
Payments for Tribal

million in FY2021 requested. HS supports social programs,
such as Social Services, Welfare Assistance, and Indian
Child Welfare Act programs. Funding for the Housing
Improvement Program—eliminated in FY2021 requested—
is $11.7 million, maintaining FY2020 enacted levels.
Loan Program
Trust-Natural Resources Management (TNRM). The
enacted level for TNRM in FY2021 is $258.8 million, an
increase of 14.1% from $226.8 million in FY2020 enacted
Source: Prepared by CRS with data from the explanatory statement
and an increase of 23.4% from $209.7 million in FY2021
for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260).
requested. TNRM assists tribes with managing, developing,
Contract Support Costs are based on such sums as necessary;
and protecting trust lands and natural resources. Funding
thus, the value for FY2021 requested deviates from the value
for Cooperative Landscape Conservation—eliminated in
reported in the FY2021 BIA request due to newer information.
FY2021 requested—is $17.0 million, a $2 million (13.4%),
b. BIA proposed this as a new account in the FY2021 request.
increase over FY2020 enacted. FY2021 enacted levels
Does not include a $2.0 mil ion rescission in FY2021 enacted.

link to page 1 The Bureau of Indian Affairs: FY2021 Appropriations
transferred the Minerals and Mining sub-activity from the
Other Appropriations Accounts
Community and Economic Development activity (see
Contract Support Costs (i.e., the indirect costs of tribes
below) and funded the sub-activity at $26.7 million.
administering federal programs under ISDEAA) is funded
in FY2021 at $335.0 million, matching the requested
Trust-Real Estate Services (TRES). The enacted level for
amount. The enacted FY2020 appropriation was $271.0
TRES in FY2021 is $140.7 million, an increase of 1.9%
million. For FY2021, enacted levels maintain current
from $138.1 million in FY2020 enacted and an increase of
funding levels for Settlements and the Loan Program
13.3% from $124.2 million in FY2021 requested. TRES
accounts, as shown in Table 1. FY2021 enacted level for
addresses BIA’s responsibilities to tribes in trust services,
the Construction account is $128.8 million, an increase of
probate, and land titles and records. FY2021 funding levels
1.7% from $126.6 in FY2020 enacted and an increase of
provide an additional $500,000 to Environmental Quality,
115.4% from $59.8 million in FY2021 requested.
an additional $400,000 to Water Rights Negotiation, and an
additional $300,000 to rights protection litigation support
New Appropriations Account
compared with FY2020 enacted.
Upon the request of a tribe or tribal organization, ISDEAA
requires BIA and BIE to enter into an ISDEAA 105(l) lease
Public Safety and Justice (PSJ). The FY2021 enacted
agreement with the tribe to use tribally owned or rented
level for PSJ is $448.7 million, an increase of 3.3% from
facilities to support contracting or compacting under
$434.3 million in FY2020 enacted and an increase of 5.9%
ISDEAA. FY2021 enacted levels fund a new appropriations
from $423.7 million in FY2021 requested. PSJ funds
account, Payments for Tribal Leases, at $21.6 million, to
programs on police services, detention/correctional
consolidate BIA and BIE 105(l) leasing costs. FY2019 and
facilities, and tribal courts. FY2021 funding levels
FY2020 leasing costs were funded under other BIA and
increased funding for background checks; solving cold
BIE accounts. DOI is directed to develop guidelines and
cases; and training on missing, trafficked, and murdered
consult with tribes on processing such leases and to report
Native American women. Law enforcement special
to Congress on long-term solutions for funding this
initiatives’ funding is $19.8 million, an increase of 32.4%
from $14.9 million in FY2020 enacted and an increase of
9.7% from $18.0 million in FY2021 requested. Congress
Proposed Organizational Changes
directed BIA to develop guidelines for collecting data on
The FY2021 budget request proposed moving the Division
missing, trafficked, and murdered Native American women.
of Energy and Mineral Development from the Office of
Indian Energy and Economic Development within the
Community and Economic Development (CED). The
Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs (AS-IA) to
enacted level for CED in FY2021 is $24.5 million, a
the Office of Trust Services under BIA. The change is
decrease of 53.3% from $52.5 million in FY2020 enacted
intended to increase coordination, communication, and
and a decrease of 10.9% from $27.5 million in FY2021
delivery of energy-related services to tribes. In H.Rept.
requested. This decrease is in large part due to the transfer
116-448, Congress expressed its intent for BIA to conduct
of Minerals and Mining to the TNRM activity. The
tribal consultation to evaluate the change before
remaining CED activities seek to foster job placement and
realignment occurs.
economic growth in Indian Country.
The FY2021 budget request also proposed realigning the
Table 2. Operation of Indian Programs Subaccount
agency’s organizational structure by moving certain
programs within the Office of Justice Services from BIA to
(dollars in millions)
AS-IA to highlight DOI’s response to public safety in
Indian Country and support Administration public safety
initiatives. President Trump’s budget request stated that
legislation would be required to make the change. In
H.Rept. 116-448, Congress expressed its intent that no
Tribal Government
$341.0 budgetary funds be used to implement the reorganization
Human Services
$161.2 until such legislation is enacted.
Trust – Natural
$258.8 Tiwahe Initiative
Resources Management
Launched in 2014, the Tiwahe Initiative, funded under the
Trust – Real Estate
HS, PSJ, and CED activities , expanded social services and
similar programs to address child and family welfare, job
training, and incarceration issues. To address concerns
Public Safety & Justice
$448.7 about documentation of funding, Congress directed BIA to
Community & Economic
produce one report on funding levels and distribution of
funding to tribes and another report on guidelines for tribes
to implement the Tiwahe Initiative using TPA funding.
Executive Direction
$241.6 Until Congress receives the report, $1.0 million is withheld
$1,616.5 from the Executive Direction subaccount in FY2021.
Source: Prepared by CRS with data from the explanatory statement
Tana Fitzpatrick, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260).

The Bureau of Indian Affairs: FY2021 Appropriations

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