U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he was able to successfully secure stronger provisions and critical funding for tribal communities in the Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package. Earlier this month, Daines urged President Trump to ensure Montana tribal communities have access to federal assistance during coronavirus outbreak.

“As the Coronavirus pandemic impacts millions of Americans across the country, we cannot ignore one of our most vulnerable populations, Native Americans,” Daines said. “I am glad President Trump, the administration and Senate Leadership acted on my request for stronger funding for our tribal communities. I look forward to getting our tribal communities the resources they need during this global pandemic.” 

"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," said Senator Hoeven, of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. "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."

Daines fought to include the following provisions for in the Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package:

1) Guarantees Loans and Stabilization Fund -

Senator Daines secured language that makes tribes and their businesses, including gaming enterprises, eligible for the 500 billion dollar loan guarantee fund. In addition the new language, Senator Daines secured an $8 billion Tribal set aside from the State and Local Stabilization Fund to ensure parity.

2) Bureau of Indian Education schools (Department of Education)

Senator Daines got language which clarifies that all Bureau of Indian Education schools, including contract and tribally-controlled schools, are eligible to receive certain Department of Education waivers, due to COVID-19. 

3) Unemployment Insurance

Senator Daines secured language which allows for Tribes to participate in the Federal Funding for Unemployment Insurance. This section establishes a process by which the federal government can transfer funds to offer 100% reimbursement to States in order to provide their citizens the 1st week of unemployment payments. The section also outlines the formula and process through which that amount is calculated and how it will be transfer.

4) National Education Waiver for Tribes

5) Authorization for the Special Tribal Diabetes program through 2021

6) Inclusion of Education and Training for Native Americans that are Geriatrics

Daines also secured the following additional provisions:

  • $1.03 billion to the Indian Health Service to support tribal health care system response efforts;
  • $100 million more for the USDA Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations;
  • $453 million to assist tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • $69 million to help tribal schools, colleges and universities through for the Bureau of Indian Education
  • $300 million more to the HUD Indian Housing Block Grant program.

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