- By Native News Online Staff
PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump on Sunday evening signed the a $908 billion Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act into law, which sets in motion the release of the $908 billion emergency relief passed by Congress last Monday.
The key component for the average American is direct stimulus payments of $600 to individuals who earned up to $75,000 in 2019 or less than $150,000 per couple. So, a family of four will receive $2,400. Those individuals who earned more than $75,000 and up to $99,000 would have a reduced stimulus check. Individuals who made more than $99,000 are ineligible for the stimulus program.
Last Tuesday, Trump released a video via Twitter that said the $600 per individual was not enough. He said $600 per individulas was a "disgrace" and the stimulus payments per individual should have been $2,000. He left the White House to fly to his Florida home without signing the Act, which left speculation he would not sign it.
On Saturday unemployment benefits for over 10 million Americans ran out. Sunday's signing will restore the unemployment benefits and will avert a government shutdown that would have gone into effect on Tuesday.
COVID-19 Relief for Indian Country and Native communities in the COVID-19 funding package includes:
Coronavirus Relief Fund Extension
- Provides a one-year extension to December 31, 2021, for Tribal governments to use funds appropriated through the CARES Act; and
- Ensures Tribes will continue to have access to the funds they need to maintain essential safety net services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Broadband ($1 billion)
- Sets aside $1 billion for direct support to Native American communities, including Tribal Colleges and Universities and Native Hawaiian communities, for access to broadband through the Department of Commerce.
Vaccines, Testing and Tracing, and Community health ($1 billion)
- Provides a $1 billion direct transfer to the Indian Health Service to distribute to federal, Tribal, and urban health programs for vaccine distribution and testing, tracing, and mitigation for COVID-19 – including:
- $210 million will ensure IHS facilities, Tribes, and urban Native communities have the resources they need for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration, and
- $790 million will be available to support testing, contact tracing, and other COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Mental Health ($125 million)
- Sets aside $125 million in additional funding for Tribes and urban Indian health organizations within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to address the mental health needs of Native communities.
- Telehealth ($25 million)
- Provides a $25 million direct transfer to the Indian Health Service from the FCC to enhance telehealth access at federal, Tribal, and urban health programs
Housing Assistance ($800 million)
- Sets aside $800 million in funding for Tribally Designated Housing Entities and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to address housing stability issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Low-Income Household Water Emergency Assistance Program ($19 million)
- Sets aside approximately $19 million for Tribes to carry out activities under a Low-Income Household Drinking Water and Wastewater Emergency Assistance Program.
Education ($552+ million)
- Provides a $409 million dollars transfer to the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) from the Department of Education to distribute to BIE K-12 schools and Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) for COVID-19 mitigation and distance learning costs; and
- Directs $143 million to TCUs, Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions, Alaska Native-Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions, and Asian American-Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions.
Fisheries ($30 million)
- Provides $30 million for Tribal fisheries across the U.S.
- Provides $10 billion in supplemental funding for the Department of Health and Human Services early childhood programs, from which participating Tribes will receive allocations to cover operating costs, reopening costs, personnel costs, and COVID-19 mitigation costs.
New FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Benefit
- Provides financial aid to those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19. Tribal governments with COVID-19 emergency or major disaster emergency declaration will not have to pay a cost-share to carry-out this provision.
CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions:
- Provides $12 billion in targeted emergency investments to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) to help borrowers and communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- Directs $3 billion in emergency assistance to CDFIs through the CDFI Fund, of which $1.2 billion will be targeted to minority lending institutions.
The Fiscal Year 2021 funding package reauthorized two critical Tribal health and safety-net program and provided funding for important federal Indian programs, including:
Special Diabetes Program for Indians
- Reauthorizes the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) through FY2023, the longest SDPI reauthorization in a decade.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Reauthorizes the Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through FY2021.
Indian Health Service (S6.2 billion)
- Provides $6.236 billion for the Indian Health Service, a 3 percent increase above last year.
- Includes new funding to staff Tribal health facilities and to increase mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, preventive care and purchased and referred care programs.
Public Health ($22 million)
- Rejects the Trump Administration’s attempt to defund the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country program, the CDC’s largest annual investment in Tribal public health; and
- Increases funding for the program to $22 million; and
- Requires the CDC Director to develop – in consultation with Tribes – written guidelines on best practices for delivery of technical assistance to Tribes and improve Tribal access to CDC programs.
Behavioral Health & Substance Use Disorder Treatment Resources ($87 million)
- Includes $2.5 million for IHS’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program, an increase of $500,000 above last year;
- Provides $21 million to continue SAMHSA Tribal Behavioral Health Grant Program;
- Sets aside $50 million within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for Indian Tribes or Tribal organizations to address opioid and substance use disorders in their communities; and
- Provides $11 million to support Tribal SAMHSA grants for medication-assisted treatment.
Department of the Interior Tribal Programs ($3.4 billion)
- Provides $3.397 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and BIE, a 5 percent increase above last year;
- Includes $1.7 million in new funding within the budgets of BIA and the National Park Service for the Indian Youth Service Corps; and
- Includes $500,000 in new funding for BIA to implement Udall’s newly enacted Native American Business Incubators Act to support Native entrepreneurs.
Indian Arts and Crafts Act Enforcement ($3.5 million)
- Provides $3.5 million within Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement to work with the Indian Arts and Crafts Board to combat international trafficking of counterfeit arts and crafts and to conduct criminal investigations of alleged violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.
Native Languages ($16+ million)
- Continues $3 million in Department of Interior funding to support Native language instruction and immersion;
- Increases funding for Native American language programs to $13 million for the Administration for Native American’s Native American Language programs, including no less than $5 million for the Esther Martinez programs; and
- Increases funding by $500,000 for Native language grants at the Department of Education.
Higher Education ($208+ million)
- Increases Department of the Interior funding to support Tribal colleges and universities to $153.5 million;
- Increases Department of Education funding to support Tribal colleges and universities to $38 million;
- Increases funding to $16.5 million for the National Science Foundation’s Tribal college and university program; and
- Continues strong Tribal college and university 1994 Land Grant Institution programs at the USDA.
Education Construction ($284 million)
- Continues strong support for addressing construction and maintenance backlogs at the BIE by providing over $264 million; and
- Includes $15 million in new funding to address facilities needs at Tribal colleges and universities.
VAWA, MMIW, & Public Safety ($541 million)
- Provides $449 million for Tribal public safety and justice programs at the Department of the Interior, including—
- $3 million to support Tribal implementation of the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction authorities restored to them in the 2013 VAWA reauthorization,
- $2 million specifically dedicated to investigation of MMIW cold cases,
- $2.5 million to improve MMIW and human trafficking response training, and
- $4.77 million for special initiatives to improve MMIW evidence collection and investigations; and
- Provides $92+ million within the Department of Justice to support Tribal public safety efforts, including—
- $3 million to support Tribal access to federal law enforcement databases, and
- $4 million to support Tribal implementation of the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction authorities restored to Tribes in the 2013 VAWA reauthorization.
Victim Resources ($100+ million)
- Continues to support direct Tribal access to federal funding for victims of crime by including a 5% set-aside for Tribes within the Crime Victim Fund allocation, resulting in $100+ million for victim services going directly to Native communities.
Housing programs ($825 million)
- Provides $825 million in total for Native American Housing programs, $225 million above the president’s budget request; and
- Includes $5 million for the Tribal HUD-VASH Program for rental assistance for Native American veterans that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“638” Contracting & Compacting
- Fully funds contract support cost requirements;
- Includes new indefinite appropriations for IHS and BIA to fully fund requirements for Tribal leases as authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act; and
- Requires the Secretaries of the Interior and Health and Human Services to undertake Tribal consultation to develop long term solutions to ensure full funding of Tribal leases and improve budget certainty for Tribes.
- Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to update Congress on its efforts to engage with Tribes to kickstart participation in the Tribal Self-Determination demonstration program for food procurement for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), a provision Udall championed in the 2018 Farm Bill; and
- Requires a report detailing USDA’s plans to increase the amount and variety of traditional foods including wild salmon, caribou, reindeer and elk for FDPIR.
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