American Rescue Plan to be largest investment in Native programs in history
The sweeping plan sends more than $31 billion to Native communities in a huge one-time investment
WASHINGTON — The American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden, includes more than $31.2 billion for Native communities — the largest investment in Native programs in history with money for tribal governments, the Indian Health Service, housing, Native education and more.
The House was set to vote sometime during the week, and if passed will put Biden on track to sign the package into law by the end of the week and secure direct payments of $1,400 for working class Americans.
The plan extends unemployment benefits, and provides money for state and local governments, aid to schools and businesses and money for testing and vaccines. Money is also allocated for healthcare, tax breaks for household with and without kids and rental and homeowner assistance.
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, helped secure more than $31.2 billion in dedicated funding for tribal governments and Native communities, which will deliver immediate relief for hard-hit Native American families and support tribal Nations as they build a bridge toward economic recovery.
“Native communities need relief,” Schatz said. “We listened and we took action. This historic funding is a down payment on the federal government’s trust responsibility to Native communities and will empower American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians to tackle COVID-19’s impacts on their communities.”
The $31.2 billion investment in Native communities includes:
$20 billion for tribal governments to combat COVID-19 and stabilize tribal community safety-net programs with some of that going toward the Indian Health Service for COVID-1- vaccines, testing, tracing, mitigation and workforce expenses.
$1.248 billion for HUD Tribal & Native Hawaiian housing programs
$1.1 billion for Native education programs, including Bureau of Indian Education schools, tribal education agencies, tribal colleges and universities, Native Hawaiian education programs, and Alaska Native education programs
$1 billion for Native families, for childcare programs and more money for the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund
$900 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs, with includes welfare assistance, assistance to tribal governments, public safety and child welfare, money for the Housing Improvement Program and money for potable water delivery.
$600 million for Native communities’ critical economic and infrastructure investments, which includes money for critical infrastructure projects in Native communities
$20 million to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Native languages
$19 million for Native communities’ efforts to combat domestic violence, with money through the Family Violence and Prevention and Services Act and $1 million for “Stronghearts” Native Domestic Violence Hotline.
The American Rescue Plan Act was passed by the Senate March 6 and expected to be voted on in House sometimes this week.
The Associated Press and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee contributed to this report.