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‘CARES Act,’ additional funds equal $10.3 billion for Indian Country

Special Diabetes Program for Indians extended through November

A flurry of legislation and funding has come out of Washington in March to help the U.S. deal with the health care crisis and economic blow that is being dealt by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The latest funding effort is the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.” It marks a third phase of legislation to address needs to respond to coronavirus and mitigation efforts across the U.S., including for Native American communities.

The bill passed the Senate this week, and is now in the House where it is being considered before it would go to President Donald J. Trump to be signed into law.

Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota and the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released a statement March 27 that further clarified what the funding means for Indian Country.

Sen. Hoeven is chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. (Courtesy photo)

“We worked hard to secure necessary resources to help Tribes combat the coronavirus outbreak,” Hoeven said in the statement. “This legislation delivers important resources for Indian Tribes to help health care providers, small businesses, schools, communities, and individuals mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in tribal communities.”

The CARES Act includes a previously reported $8 billion for Indian Country, namely through the “Tribal Stabilization Fund,” which provides emergency relief to tribal governments to offset costs of COVID-19.

Other provisions for Indian Country, according to Hoeven’s office, are:

  • Ensuring that tribes and their businesses are eligible for the $454 billion loan guarantee fund and for the $349 billion under the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan 7(a) Program.   
  • $1.032 billion for Indian Health Service (IHS) for coronavirus response efforts, including treatment and preventing the spread of COVID-19 on tribal lands.
  • $100 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) food distribution program on reservations.
  • $453 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) public safety and law enforcement.
  • $327 million for Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).
  • $305 million for Indian housing programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

One of the provisions includes an extension of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) through November. It was set to expire on May 22.

Read more about SDPI in the Seminole Tribune here.

With the $8 billion in funding from the CARES Act and additional supplemental appropriations, Hoeven’s office said the total amount of resources available for Indian Country thus far is about $10.3 billion.

 For more, go to indian.senate.gov.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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