What Do Tribes Need to Know About the $20 Billion in New Relief Funds?

A Message from McCabe CPA Group and McCabe Consulting.  

Albuquerque, NM – In the summer of 2020, Tribal leaders called for $20 billion in direct government COVID-19 relief funds in addition to the $8 billion that was allocated by way of the CARES Act, signed into law almost one year ago. 

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed another relief bill that would allocate $20 billion in direct payments to respond to the health and economic impact of COVID-19 in tribal communities. 

Now is another pivotal moment in our collective work toward self-determination. 

What we should be asking ourselves is: Are tribes better situated to employ this amount of money to ensure the greatest benefit to their communities while remaining transparent and adhering to strict guidelines set by the U.S. Treasury?

Some tribes did very well in utilizing CARES Act funds to respond and prevent the spread of the coronavirus through agency coordination and feeding educational materials to the public. 

Other tribes have stumbled to leverage their relief funds to acquire personal protective equipment and other necessities like access to broadband internet for their communities. 

Some have still not established effective policies and procedures for spending relief funds and safely reopening tribal casinos and enterprises. 

Tribes must avoid anything that disrupts the progress already made such as not following the guidelines for the direct relief payments, paycheck protection payment loans, and other federal relief. 

The fact of the matter is that the U.S. government is looking very closely at how funds are being spent. 

The U.S. Department of Justice is active with pandemic-related investigations and prosecutions involving alleged fraud and misrepresentations in PPP loan recipients.

The Special Inspector General of Pandemic Recovery was provided $25 million to audit and investigate the distribution of funds under the CARES Act.

Both Houses of Congress are active in reviewing pandemic spending with the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus and other standing House Committees having initiated interest and inquiries.

The importance for all levels of government to hold themselves to the highest standards of accountability should not be ignored. 

The bill, expected to pass by the end of the week includes State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Support of $350 billion.  

Of that amount, $20 billion will be allocated to federally recognized Tribal governments; $1 billion of which will be partitioned equally and $19 billion divided as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury. MORE

Indian Health Service is expected to receive $6,094,000,000 for carrying out the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, and titles II and III of the Public Health Service Act.

Other funds concerning tribes may include the Department of Education for fiscal year 2021, $850,000,000 for programs operated or funded including the Bureau of Indian Education, for Bureau-funded schools and for Tribal Colleges or Universities. MORE

Our purpose is to shape visions into reality for tribal communities with innovative community and organizational-based solutions in the areas of accounting, audit, policy, and compliance. 

As we prepare to bring you more information concerning these areas pertaining to COVID-19 response and federal relief funds, we want to know what information you need to better understand your situation and your options. Visit McCabe CPA Group by clicking HERE and McCabe Consulting by clicking HERE.

About Sean McCabe, CPA, Managing Member
Sean has enjoyed over a decade of working with and for governments and not-for-profit organizations in management, regulatory and consulting roles. He has been fortunate enough to assist governments in achieving their financial and operational goals. Sean also served as a significant consultant to the production of the Native American Finance Officers Association’s GASB 34 implementation guide. Sean is a recognized speaker on the National Indian Gaming Commission’s speaker series providing training and advice on relevant governmental audits and operational issues. Additionally, Sean was recently selected to serve on the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants Minority Initiative Committee.

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Native Business Magazine

Carmen Davis - Founder, Publisher and Executive Editor

Mrs. Davis is the founder, publisher and executive editor of the only Native American wholly owned and operated national tribal business publication, Native Business Magazine, and the producer of the annual and nationally attended Native Business Summit.

Mrs. Davis is also president of Davis Strategy Group has over 23 years of service to Indian Country and as an entrepreneur she has successfully established, operated, managed and grown several businesses in multiple sectors. She is equal parts a strategic visionary and behind-the-scenes implementor, essential in guiding and overseeing every process of brand development, business expansion, nation-to-nation relationship building and more.

She was named in 2009 as one of the first recipients of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s, “40 Under 40” award which recognizes up and coming community and business leaders from across Indian Country.