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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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