Udall: Tribal Coronavirus Relief Provisions Pass Full Congress
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement after final passage of key provisions negotiated by Senate Democrats to provide relief to Tribes as part of the emergency coronavirus response package. The bill is expected to be signed by the president shortly.
“Tribes have made it abundantly clear that the effects of COVID-19 on Indian Country will be devastating if they do not receive the necessary health care, economic recovery, and infrastructure resources. With the enactment of this emergency package, we will deliver absolutely critical relief to Tribal communities that are on the front lines of this global pandemic – communities that are among the most at risk in our nation,” Udall said. “After the White House and Senate Republican leaders proposed leaving Tribes almost completely empty handed in their initial proposal, I am relieved that we were able to secure these urgently-needed resources for Indian Country by staying at the negotiating table and refusing to relent. I will keep working to ensure Tribal communities have the support they need from the federal government to stay healthy and financially afloat in this challenging time.”
The bipartisan Senate agreement will establish an $8 billion Tribal Government Coronavirus Relief fund to ensure Indian Tribes have direct “one stop” access to COVID-19 resources for economic recovery and continuation of essential government services based on local needs.
The agreement also contains over $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for essential federal Indian programs, including:
- $1.032 billion for the Indian Health Service, with significant funds put in the field through Tribal shares and urban organizations;
- $453 million for operation of essential Tribal government programs funded through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, like public safety and purchase of protective equipment for emergency personnel;
- $69 million for the Bureau of Indian Education;
-$100 million for USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
- $300 million for Indian Housing Programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
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