U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) announced today that she successfully secured strong federal assistance for Arizona tribes and native communities across the country – including $8 billion in emergency funding – as part of the latest coronavirus relief package.
After two previous House-led relief packages were signed into law without any tribal-specific provisions, Senator McSally engaged with Arizona tribal leaders to identify their most immediate needs and worked with Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to negotiate with Senate leadership and the White House to ensure that the needs of Indian Country were explicitly and specifically addressed in the latest relief legislation.
“Arizona’s tribal communities rely heavily on the industries hardest hit by the fallout created by the COVID-19 outbreak, including tourism and hospitality,” McSally said. “Our tribes are already feeling significant strain. This legislation provides immediate cash relief and strong assistance to tribal communities impacted by this so workers and families can pay their bills.”
Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) said: “Today, Senator Martha McSally of Arizona and Senator Steve Daines of Montana, both members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, helped secure a significant amount of emergency relief funds for Indian Tribes in the CARES Act, including a historic set aside of $8 billion. I thank both Senators for their leadership and dedication. By working together to pass this important piece of legislation, we are providing critical assistance to millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives across the country. Now, Indian Tribes will be better able to help their communities’ small businesses, schools, hospitals and clinics weather the challenges of COVID-19. I hope the House swiftly passes this legislation so the Administration can begin getting these resources out to where they are greatly needed.”
- On March 20, Sens. McSally and Daines sent a letter to Senate leadership insisting that tribal-specific relief provisions be included in this legislation.
- Senator McSally was successful in securing several significant provisions for Indian Country, including:
- $8 billion stabilization fund set aside specifically for tribal governments to deal with the immense costs of COVID-19 response.
- Parity for tribes to ensure they have access to the same economic relief measures as states, local governments and private businesses, including:
- Access to forgivable loans provided by the Small Business Administration for tribal businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
- Eligibility for tribes and their businesses, including gaming enterprises, for the $500 billion loan guarantee fund.
- Tribes will be gain access to federal funding for increased unemployment insurance afforded to states in the bill.
- Tribal Priority Allocations increase of $453 million, which is the most flexible funding mechanism available for tribal government operations.
- Indian Health Service increase of $1.03 billion to support tribal health care system response efforts.