Mark Kelly: Tribal relief funding delayed and inadequate
Today, the Treasury Department announced that it would begin sending a fraction of the approved relief funding to tribal governments more than a week after it was legally obligated to and nearly six weeks after the CARES Act was signed into law. The delay comes as the Navajo Nation has seen infection rates climb to one of the highest in the country, and after the administration had tried to allot a portion of the already-limited funding to for-profit Alaska Native Corporations, a move that Mark Kelly has opposed as it would siphon away funding from tribal governments in Arizona.
“The coronavirus relief funding coming from Washington today for tribal governments is inadequate and weeks-delayed,” said Mark Kelly. “Big businesses and pro sports teams have managed to get federal relief in the past few weeks, but not the Navajo Nation, which is combatting one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks anywhere in the country. This is the time to get back to work and ensure the Navajo Nation and other tribal governments in Arizona have every ounce of support they need to overcome the specific challenges they face, save lives, and stop the spread of the virus.”
The National Congress of American Indians originally requested $20B to address the coronavirus response. After initially trying to pass a bill with zero tribal funding, the Senate ultimately passed $8 billion that was supposed to be released by April 26th. Today, the Treasury Department will release just $4.8 billion of that funding.