A $2 trillion stimulus deal, the largest economic stimulus measure in U.S. history, aims to rescue a shutdown economy amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
The agreement reached Wednesday between the White House and Senate leaders would authorize loans and grants to small businesses, increase unemployment benefits for laid-off workers and those with reduced hours, and create a $500 billion corporate bailout fund.
Tribes, much like states, have been hammered by lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s how the $2 trillion stimulus package breaks down to benefit Indian Country:
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act would deliver roughly $10 billion in benefits to Tribes and Tribal organizations. The bulk of those funds, $8 billion, comprises the Tribal Stabilization Fund to offer emergency relief to Tribal governments bracing against coronavirus.
- The bill contains $150 billion for hospitals treating coronavirus patients — of which more than $1 billion would go to the Indian Health Service. Meanwhile, $100 billion would go to hospitals, and the remainder would go toward increasing medical equipment capacity.
- Of the $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a minimum of $1.5 billion in grants would go to state and local governments and Tribes to purchase protective equipment, carry out surveillance and laboratory testing, infection control and other activities.
- The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) would receive $453 million to provide aid to Tribal governments. The funds are targeted to support welfare assistance and social service programs, public safety and emergency response. The money would also boost the BIA’s technical capacity for virtual work, while creating opportunity to increase staffing and cover the costs of overtime.
- The stimulus packages grants $69 million to the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) for response needs at BIE-funded schools and Tribal colleges and universities nationwide. Those pressing needs pertain to telework, staffing, transportation, cleaning and other assistance.
- The Indian Housing Programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would receive $305 million.
- USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations would see $100 million.
- The bill also ensures Tribes and Tribal businesses are eligible for the $454 billion loan guarantee funds and $349 billion available under the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan 7(a) Program.
Stay tuned for further updates.