Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made her first appearance before Congress on Tuesday.
Jewell told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the Interior Department suffered an $881 million cut due the sequester of the federal budget. Employees are being furloughed and services are being reduced as a result.
“It’s just very, very difficult for us to carry out the mission in the way it’s expected,” Jewell testified.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is taking a hit, Jewell acknowledged. She said officials are trying to prioritize education, law enforcement and self-determination needs.
“There’s no question in Indian Country, we’ve got needs that far exceed the ability to meet them,” Jewell said.
“I know there’s not enough money to go around but we’re certainly working with tribes to do the best that we can,” she added.