O'Halleran, AZ Lawmakers Send Bipartisan Letter Calling for IHS Funding
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Tom O'Halleran led a bipartisan letter, signed by members of the Arizona delegation, to Reps. Ken Calvert and Betty McCollum urging them to provide funding for three Indian Health Service clinics in Arizona, California, and Oklahoma. Calvert and McCollum oversee the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.
In the letter, the lawmakers state that they became aware of the failure of IHS to request the necessary funding earlier this year. In the letter they write, "Constituents informed us that they were told by [IHS] that staffing and operations funding for three health facilities scheduled to open in the next year was not included in the budget request to Congress for FY 2018."
"It is bad federal policy and an inefficient use of federal dollars to construct these health facilities and then leave them vacant," continued the lawmakers. "The Indian Health Service failed to adequately inform Congress of the amount of funds needed to ensure that they are timely and efficiently staffed and operated."
"It is irresponsible of Indian Health Services to leave staffing and operational funding for critical health care clinics out of their budget request," said O'Halleran. "Without the necessary funds, the three facilities in question, which have long been slated for operation in FY 2018, will be unable to serve Indian Country. This is a grave error on the part of IHS, and it could cost lives. I urge my colleagues to work to ensure these facilities receive the funding they need."
The letter was signed by Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09). You can read the full letter here.