U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) issued the following statement Tuesday after the Treasury Department and Interior Department announced they would begin disbursing $4.8 billion in coronavirus relief funds to tribal nations across the U.S.
“I went to the mat for Arizona’s native communities during the Senate’s coronavirus relief negotiations to ensure our tribes receive critical relief dollars amid the ongoing pandemic,” McSally said. “The federal government has a responsibility to meet the health care and economic needs of tribal nations and I’m pleased to see the administration doing just that.”
Payment to tribes will begin today from the $8 billion Tribal COVID Relief Fund (CRF), which McSally helped secure in the CARES Act. Initial payments totaling $4.8 billion will be based on tribal population allocation, and will take place over several banking days. The remainder of the Tribal CRF will be distributed at a later date based on employment and expenditure data for each tribe. McSally continues to work with the Administration to ensure all funds are disbursed to tribes as soon as possible.
McSally was the first Senator to publicly call for a tribal government stabilization fund and other direct aid to tribes in her March 20 letter with Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).
According to the Secretaries of Treasury and Interior, this plan will:
Distribute 60 percent of the $8 billion to Tribes based on population data used in the distribution of the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), subject to a floor of $100,000. This data is based on U.S. Census figures and is already familiar to Tribal governments.
Distribute the remaining 40 percent of the $8 billion based on the total number of persons employed by the Indian tribe and any tribally-owned entity, and further data to be collected related to the amount of higher expenses faced by the tribe in the fight against COVID-19.