$2 trillion stimulus package provides COVID-19 funds for tribes
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On March 27, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, which is a $2 trillion stimulus package providing economic relief to individuals, families, businesses, local and State governments, and Tribal governments and entities across the Nation.
The bill establishes an $8 billion tribal relief funds and provides $2 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and HUD’s Office of Native American Program, among other federal agencies and programs.
In the form of an advanced rebate, taxpayers will receive a 2020 tax credit of $1,200 for adults and $500 for children under the age of 17. This amount is reduced for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 a year and phases out completely for those with incomes of $99,000 or more. It also includes unemployment benefits and assistance for businesses.
“We greatly appreciate the support and advocacy of our Senators and Congressional delegates representing the Navajo people. We are in dire need of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE’s, health care workers, and many other resources that are needed to address the growing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. “As we approach the peak of this pandemic in the coming weeks, we will require the continued support and coordination with Congress, our state partners from Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, as well as counties and local officials.”
In anticipation of the funding package, Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer created the Navajo Economic Stimulus Team to proactively engage federal agencies slated to receive stimulus funding for distribution to Indian Country. The Nez-Lizer Administration also directed all Division Directors to strategize and coordinate on Navajo economic recovery needs, and to actively work with federal agencies on the funding process.
“We are fighting COVID-19 on multiple fronts. In addition to the health care fight, we are also working hard to protect the Navajo Nation’s economy. With the closures of Navajo Casinos, the down turn in tourism, and the overall economic impact that the coronavirus has had on businesses such as gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, Navajo small businesses, and Navajo Nation enterprises, the Nez-Lizer administration is currently working to ensure that our economy comes back more stronger and more robust,” Nez said.
Below is a brief summary of the CARES Act benefits and funds specifically set-aside for tribes:
• $1.032 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) Services Account
- Includes up to $65 million for electronic health record stabilization and support
- Allows up to $125 million to be transferred to IHS Facilities Account
- At least $450 million shall be distributed to Direct Service Tribes and Self-Governance Tribes
• Minimum of $125 million in set-aside funding for Tribes and Tribal organizations under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Funding is for surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications, and other preparedness and response activities
• Minimum of $15 million in set-aside funding for Tribes and Tribal organizations under Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Funding is for mental and behavioral health services in response to COVID-19
• Minimum $15 million in set-aside funding for Tribes and Tribal organizations under Health
- Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- Funding is for health surveillance and other needs under the HRSA Rural Health program
• $300 million under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA)
- $200 million is for Native American Housing Block Grants
- $100 million is for Indian Community Development Block Grant
• $100 million for the Food Distribution Program for Indians Reservations
- $50 million is for facility improvements and equipment upgrades
- $50 million is for additional food purchases
• $8 billion for tribal enterprises
• The SDPI is extended until November 30, 2020.
Information provided by the Office of the President and Vice President