Treasury will distribute 60 percent of the $8 billion to Tribes based on population data, and the remaining 40 percent based on the total number of persons employed by the Indian Tribe and any Tribally-owned entity.
Starting today, Tribes will finally begin receiving shares of the $8 billion in emergency COVID-19 relief set aside for Tribal governments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Amounts previously calculated for Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act regional and village corporations will be held back until pending litigation relating to their eligibility is resolved. On April 27, Judge Amit Mehta issued a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from distributing any COVID-19 relief funds designated for Tribal governments to Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs).
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt released a joint statement today — nine days after the original April 26 deadline date set by Congress and President Trump to distribute the Title V funds.
“We are pleased to begin making $4.8 billion in critical funds available to Tribal governments in all states,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Our approach is based on the fair balancing of Tribal needs.”
The Treasury is endeavoring to issue the payments in a “fair and appropriate manner,” the joint statement reiterates. The path forward agreed to by the Secretaries will:
- Distribute 60 percent of the $8 billion to Tribes based on population data used in the distribution of the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), subject to a floor of $100,000. This data is based on U.S. Census figures and is already familiar to Tribal governments.
- Distribute the remaining 40 percent of the $8 billion based on the total number of persons employed by the Indian Tribe and any Tribally-owned entity, and further data to be collected related to the amount of higher expenses faced by the Tribe in the fight against COVID-19.
- Payment to Tribes will begin today based on the population allocation, and will take place over several banking days. Amounts calculated for Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act regional and village corporations will be held back until pending litigation relating to their eligibility is resolved.
- Payments to Tribes based on employment and expenditure data will be made at a later date. Treasury will work with Tribes to confirm employment numbers and seek additional information regarding higher expenses due to the public health emergency.
Secretary Bernhard stated in the release: “Thanks to President Trump and Secretary Mnuchin for working with Congress to pass the CARES Act as historic financial support will now begin to be disbursed to Native Americans battling the COVID-19 health crisis. I appreciate the Secretary of the Treasury’s determination in providing a clear pathway to get these resources promptly delivered.”