Haaland, Gallego Lead Lawmakers Calling on Treasury to Immediately Release CARES Act Funding to Tribes

April 29, 2020
Press Release
Funding was delayed due to Trump Administration decision to grant corporations access to funding, despite intended use for Tribal governments

Albuquerque, N.M. – Today, U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland (NM-01), Co Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus and Ruben Gallego, Chairman of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the U.S. are leading the call for the Department of Treasury to immediately release CARES Act funding to Tribes.

The CARES Act included an $8 billion fund to ensure sovereign tribal governments have the resources needed during the coronavirus pandemic and cover expenditures associated with the public health emergency. However, the distribution of those funds was delayed because the Administration attempted to award that funding to corporations - a decision that tribal governments across the country opposed. The U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia issued a decision on April 27 to place a temporary injunction from releasing funds to Alaska Native Corporations until a final decision is rendered.

In the letter, the members state, “The Court’s decision does not prevent the Treasury Department from releasing resources to federally-recognized Tribal and Alaska Native governments…[and]Further postponement in disbursing these funds is unnecessary and works against the federal government’s trust responsibility to the 574 federally recognized tribal nations in the United States.”

The full letter to the Department of Treasury is available here.

In addition to Haaland and Gallego, the letter was signed by Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee Raul M. Grijalva, and U.S. Representatives Tom O’Halleran, Derek Kilmer, Sharice L. Davids, and Betty McCollum.