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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, passed into law on March 26, includes more than $10 billion in set asides for Indian Country.

WASHINGTON — The passage yesterday of H.R. 748 — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — includes more than $10 billion in funding specifically for tribal nations and tribal-owned businesses. Additionally, tribes and tribal citizens, as well as Native-owned businesses will have access to some other funding that is part of the $2.2 trillion relief package.  

Here’s a rundown of what’s included in the new law, courtesy of the National Congress of American Indians

Economic Development and Employment

  • Provides $454 billion for loans, loan guarantees, and investments in support of the Federal Reserve’s lending facilities to eligible businesses, states, tribal nations, and municipalities
  • Provides an $8 billion set-aside for tribal nations from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to use for expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Makes Tribal Business Concerns eligible for the Small Business Act Section 7(a) program, which will provide 100 percent federal loan guarantees up to $10 million to cover costs like employee salaries, paid sick leave/medical leave, mortgages/rents, and employee health insurance premiums
  • Authorizes the federal government to provide a 50 percent reimbursement for the cost of unemployment compensation to tribal nations that are reimbursement-option employers
  • Makes tribal fishery participants eligible for assistance from the Department of Commerce, including direct relief payments

Tribal Governance and Housing / Community Development

  • $453 million for Indian Affairs Operation of Indian Programs until September 30, 2021
  • $300 million authorized through September 30, 2024 for Department of Housing and Urban Development Native American Programs
    • $200 million for the Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) formula
    • $100 million for Indian Community Development Block Grants (ICDBG)

Health, Education, and Nutrition

Health

  • $1.032 billion for Indian Health Services
    • Up to $65 million is for electronic health record stabilization and support
    • Not less than $450 million will be distributed through IHS directly operated programs and to tribal nations and tribal organizations under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, and through contracts with or grants to urban Indian organizations under Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act
    • $125 million may be transferred to and merged with the ‘‘Indian Health Service, Indian Health Facilities’’ account
  • Not less than $15 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration for telehealth and rural health activities
  • Not less than $15 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Health Surveillance Program
  • Not less than $15 million from the Public Health Service and Social Services Emergency Fund for essential medical resources
  • Not less than $125 million set aside from the Centers for Disease Control - Wide Activities and Program Support account
  • Extension of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians through November 30, 2020
  • $4.5 million for tribal domestic violence shelters through the Family Violence and Prevention Services Act (10 percent tribal set-aside from $45 million overall)
  • Extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through November 30, 2020
  • $20 million for the Older Americans Act, Tribal Nutrition Program, which provides funds for the delivery of nutrition services to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian elders
  • $900 million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) which includes Tribal LIHEAP

Education

  • $69 million for Operation of Indian Education Programs until September 30, 2021

o Not less than $20 million shall be for Tribal Colleges and Universities

  • $78,000 for the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development
  • Education Stabilization Fund:
    • $153.75 million set aside for programs operated or funded by the Bureau of Indian Education
    • $1.046 billion for Minority Serving Institutions, which include but are not limited to, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions, and Native American Serving Non-tribal Institutions
  • Access to Institute of Museum and Library Services grants
    • $50 million to states, territories, and tribal nations to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services
    • Any matching funds requirements for tribal nations are waived for grants
  • Bureau of Indian Education and tribally-controlled schools are eligible for Department of Education waivers for statutory and regulatory requirements related to assessments, accountability, and reporting requirements, in addition to grant requirements such as restrictions on carryover funding and certain requirements under the Student Supports and Academic Enrichment Grants program, including the needs assessment, certain spending restrictions, and the limitation on technology spending

Nutrition

  • $100 million for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
    • $50 million for facility improvements and equipment upgrades
    • $50 million for costs relating to additional food purchases

Homeland Security

  • REAL ID Act deadline has been extended to September 30, 2021

For a comprehensive look at Indian Country’s priorities, resources, and information regarding COVID-19, click here.

Source:  National Congress of American Indians

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