Congress Passes More Than $30 Billion in Covid-19 Relief for Tribes

Mar 19, 2021 | News

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Recovery Plan Act into law.  The Act provides $1.9 trillion in Covid-19 relief and includes more than $30 billion in targeted funding in support of tribal governments and tribal members. The Act passed with only Democratic support.  

Some of the most significant funding in the Act is an additional $20 billion in Coronavirus Recovery Fund (CRF) payments for tribal governments. Compared to the funding provided in the CARES Act, the American Recovery Plan Act also provides greater flexibility for tribal governments in how to deploy funds and meet their membership’s needs including offsetting governmental revenue losses. The Act also takes steps to minimize reporting, application, and grant program requirements so tribes can focus on Covid-19 response efforts.

The Act provides that CRF payments are available:

  • To respond to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.
  • To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19  public health emergency by providing premium pay (up to $13/hour) to eligible workers that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work. 
  • For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to COVID-19 relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency.
  • To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

The Act also provides funding for the following tribal programs and programs available to tribal members:

  • $6 billion for tribal health programs
  • $900 billion for BIA programs supporting tribal governments
  • $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $25 billion for a restaurant revitalization fund
  • $50 billion in FEMA appropriations,
  • $7.17 billion for internet connectivity
  • $4.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act
  • $850 million for BIE Schools and Tribal Colleges
  • $450 million for Indian Housing Block Grants
  • $280 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants
  • $20 million for the Preservation and Maintenance of Native American Languages
  • $9.96 billion for tribes and states to provide homeowner mortgage and rent assistance
  • $100 million for childcare assistance grants for Tribes and Tribal Organizations
  • Extension of a 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
  • $1,400 individual stimulus checks, phased out at higher incomes

To learn more about the American Recovery Plan Act and how Native Law Group can assist, contact partner Rollie Wilson in our Washington, D.C. office at (202) 434-8903.