- By Native News Online Staff
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate passed on Saturday President Joe Bidens $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, after a marathon session. The bill will go back to the U.S. House of Representatives for a final vote next week. Once the House passes the legilsation it will be sent to President Biden for his signature to turn it into law.
The bill provides $1,400 checks to individual Americans who earn up to $75,000 annually or $150,000 per couple.
The final vote was 50-49 with all Republicans voting no for the legislation. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) was absent.
For tribal nations, Democratic senators worked hard to secure more than $31.2 billion in dedicated funding for tribal governments and Native communities, comprising the largest investment in history for Native programs. The new funding 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. We listened and we took action. With more than $31 billion for Tribal governments and Native programs, the American Rescue Plan delivers the largest one-time investment to Native communities in history,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and member of the Senate Appropriations Committee said after Saturday's vote. “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 through Treasury’s State/Local “Coronavirus Relief Fund”
$6+ billion for Native health systems
- Indian Health Service
o $2.340 billion for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, tracing, mitigation, and workforce expenses
o $2 billion for lost third-party medical billing reimbursements
o $600 million for health facilities construction and sanitation programs
o $500 million for clinical health services and Purchased/Referred Care
o $420 million for mental and behavioral health
o $140 million for improving health IT and telehealth access
o $84 million for Urban Indian health programs
o $10 million for potable water delivery
- Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems
o $20 million set-aside for Papa Ola Lōkahi and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems within the Community Health Centers funding at the Health Resources and Services Administration
$1.248 billion for HUD Tribal & Native Hawaiian housing programs
- $498 million Tribal set-aside within Treasury’s Homeowners Assistance Program for Tribes and Native housing programs
- $450 million for the Indian Housing Block Grant
- $280 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant
- $15 million for technical assistance, administrative costs, and oversight
- $5 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant
$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
- $850 million for Bureau of Indian (BIE) education programs, BIE K-12 schools & dormitories, and Tribal Colleges and Universities
- $190 million for Department of Education grants to Tribal Education Agencies, Native Hawaiian education organizations, and Alaska Native education organizations
- $142+ million for Tribal Colleges and Universities through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
- $89+ million for Native-serving institutions of higher education, including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian serving institutions, through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
$1+ billion for Native families
- $1+ billion for Tribal child care programs and supports
- $75 million for Tribal TANF grantees to provide assistance to families in need through the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund
$900 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs
- $772.5 million for Tribal government services (i.e., general welfare assistance, assistance to Tribal governments, public safety, child welfare)
- $100 million for the Housing Improvement Program
- $20 million for potable water delivery
- $7.5 million for administrative costs and oversight
$600 million for Native communities’ critical economic and infrastructure investments
- $500 million for Tribal governments to support capital investments in Native businesses within Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative
- $100 million for critical infrastructure projects in Native communities
$20 million to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Native languages
- $20 million for a new emergency Native language preservation & maintenance grant program through the Administration for Native Americans to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 on Native language communities
$19 million for Native communities’ efforts to combat domestic violence
- $18 million for Tribal awardees through the Family Violence Prevention & Services Act
- $1 million for “Stronghearts” Native Domestic Violence Hotline
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