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WASHINGTON — As part of President Joe Biden’s $350 billion in funding for state, local and tribal governments, Indian Country is slated to receive $20 billion if the legislation holds up in the Senate.

“For tribes, this represents a $12 billion increase from the $8 billion received in the CARES Act.”  Kevin Allis, president of Thunderbird Strategic.

The Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFOA) held a virtual tribal leader town hall on Friday afternoon that provided an overview of the proposed legislation.

According to Dante Desidero, NAFOA’ executive director, Congress is expected to pass the legislation next week using budget reconciliation rules. Once the package is approved by the full House of Representatives next, the legislation will be taking up by the U.S. Senate, which wants to the total package approved by March 13, 2021 when unemployment benefits are due to expire. 

NAFOA provided the following breakdown of the tribal provisions from the proposed legislation:

  • Agriculture(Press Release):
    • Assistance and Support for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranches, Forest Land Owners and Operators, and Groups
      • $1.01 billion appropriated to agriculture for 2021 fiscal year and to remain available until expended.
        • The Secretary shall use the amounts made available to support and supplement research, education, scholarships and programs that provide internships to Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian serving institutions that are eligible to receive grants under the National Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching Policy Act of 1977. 
      • Extends the 15% SNAP benefit increase through September 30, 2021
    • Education and Labor(Summary):
      • Bureau of Indian Education
        • $850 million to be allocated by the Secretary of the Interior not more than 30 days after the Act is authorized, for programs operated or funded by the Bureau of Indian Education (“BIE”), Bureau-funded schools, and Tribal Colleges or Universities.
      • Child Care and Development Block Grant Program
        • $14.99 billion will remain available through September 30, 2021 to carry out the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (“CCDBG”). Such funds are authorized for use by states, territories, Indian Tribes and Tribal Organizations for child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus without income eligibility requirements.
      • Child Care Stabilization
        • $23.975 billion will remain available through September 30, 2021 through CCBDG for eligible child care providers of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations for use in accordance with CCBDG.
      • Programs for Survivors
        • The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act is amended to add additional funding for the fiscal year 2021, to remain available until spent. $18 million to carry out grants for Indian Tribes. $1 million each fiscal year to support Indian communities under the National Domestic Violence Hotline Grant.
      • COVID-19 Response Resources for the Preservation and Maintenance of the Native American Languages 
        • $10 million to remain available until expended for emergency grants for Native American language preservation and maintenance. 
      • Increased federal minimum wage to $15/hour
    • Energy and Commerce(Press Release)
      • $6.094 billion in funding for tribal health programs
      • Provides 100% FMAP for care provided in Urban Indian Health Clinics
    • Financial Services(Summary):
      • $750 million for housing assistance and supportive services programs for Native Americans
        • $455 million: Indian Housing Block Grants ($450m) and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grants ($5m)
        • $280 million: Indian Community Development Block Grants for emergencies that constitute imminent threats to health and safety and are designed to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.  
        • $15 million: technical assistance and other costs 
      • Homeowners Assistance Fund
        • $9.96 billion to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due to the impacts of COVID-19 by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs
      • $10 billion for State Small Business Credit Initiative(renewed 2010 program, amended to include tribes)
        • $500 million for tribal government programs
      • Oversight and Reform(Summary)
        • $20 Billion in additional funding for Tribes for the Coronavirus Relief Fund
          • $1 billion split between all tribes
          • $19 billion split determined by Department of Treasury
          • Expansion of uses and can replace lost, delayed, or decreased revenue
        • Small Business(Summary):
          • Additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
          • Additional $15 billion for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance program
          • $25 billion for Restaurant Revitalization Fund
            • Tribal Business Concerns eligible 
            • Priority for restaurants owned and operated controlled by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for first 21 days
          • Community Navigator Pilot Program: New program to be funded through 2025 designed to increase awareness of and participation in COVID-19 relief programs for business owners currently lacking access, with priority for businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women, and veterans
            • $100 million in grants, $75 million in outreach and education
            • Tribes are eligible grantees
          • Transportation and Infrastructure(Press Release):
            • FEMA  Appropriations
              • $50 billion to remain available until September 30, 2025 for reimbursement to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments dealing with ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery activities
            • Ways & Means(Summaries and full text by subtitle): 
              • Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
                • Increases total number of weeks benefit is available from 50 to 74 weeks
              • Pandemic Emergency Fund 
                • $1 billion fund,  April 1, 2021 - September 30, 2022 
                  • $74.85 million (7.5%) reserved for territories and tribes that are otherwise eligible for TANF grants
                  • Health and Human Services Secretary has discretion with how to allocate the funds to tribes
                  • ANCs are eligible recipients
                • Recovery Rebates to Individuals
                  • $1,400 payments for single taxpayers making up to $75,000 ($2,800 to joint filers making up to $150,000) and phasing out between $75,000-$100,000 for single filers ($150,000-200,000 for joint)
                • Extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit
                  • Extends credit through December 31, 2021
                • Child Care Assistance Programs
                  • $100 million allocated for grants to Indian tribes and tribal organizations 

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