Through Indigenous News Online Staff
WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the US $ 1.9 trillion bailout. The act now goes to the White House for President Joe Biden, who is due to sign it on Friday. The vote was divided along party lines. All Democrats voted on the bill. Every Republican voted against the back-up plan which is supported by 75% of Americans.
Of the $ 1.9 trillion package, $ 31.2 billion has been allocated to the Indian country. This is the largest amount of money ever allocated to Native American / Alaska Native programs in history.
Representative Deb Haaland (DN.M.), in what could be her last major vote in the House of Representatives, as she is expected to be confirmed as Home Office secretary next week, was proud to vote . in favor of the bill.
“As someone who has lived in poverty and had no savings for most of my adult life, I know what it’s like to be in an emergency of being without- shelter. This pandemic has put a strain on New Mexico families, hospital workers, small businesses and many families who have lost many family members to this horrific virus, ”said Representative Deb Haaland. “Everyone in our state deserves to feel whole again. This is why the US bailout is so important. With $ 1,400 checks in people’s pockets and extended unemployment benefits, New Mexicans will have immediate financial stability, and long-term investments in vaccine distribution will ensure we can get more vaccines on their hands. people and that teachers and students can return to school safely while skipping start a fair recovery.
“Indigenous communities need help. We listened and we acted. With more than $ 31 billion for tribal governments and indigenous programs, the US bailout offers the largest one-time investment in indigenous communities in history, ”said Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “This historic funding is a down payment on the federal government’s trusting responsibility to Indigenous communities and will enable American Indians, Alaska Natives and Hawaiians to fight the impacts of COVID-19 on their communities.”
The praise came from the President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez, who for the past year has presided over the Navajo Nation which has recorded the highest number of positive Covid-19 cases and the most deaths among the nations. and tribal communities.
“We appreciate the support of Congress and our federal partners and for working with our administration to ensure that all tribal nations are included in the US stimulus package. We look forward to President Biden signing the measure into law and look forward to continuing to work with the Treasury Department. The bill gives the Secretary of the Treasury great latitude in determining the funding for each tribe, ”Nez said.
The US bailout will do the following:
- checks for $ 1,400 to Americans
- Set up a national immunization program
- Extend unemployment insurance
- Safe reopening of schools
The US bailout will provide the following health arrangements for American Indians and Alaska Natives:
- $ 6.094 billion in funding for Indian health programs
- $ 2 billion for lost revenue
- $ 500 million for purchased / referred care
- $ 140 million for information technology, telehealth and electronic health records infrastructure
- $ 84 million for urban Indian health programs
- $ 600 million for vaccine-related activities
- $ 1.5 billion to test, trace and mitigate COVID-19
- $ 240 million for the public health workforce
- $ 420 million for mental and behavioral health prevention and treatment services among Indian tribes, tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations
- $ 600 million to fund tribal health care facilities and infrastructure
- $ 10 million for the delivery of drinking water
This is how the American rescue plan will directly help the tribes:
Housing Assistance and Native American Support Programs: This change clarifies that funds earmarked for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands are not intended solely for emergency rental assistance purposes.
COVID-19 Response Resources for the Preservation and Maintenance of Native American Languages: This change increased funding from the Administration for Native Americans for emergency grants to Native American communities whose language revitalization and maintenance activities have disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic at $ 20,000,000.
Bureau of Indian Education: This change would affect the $ 850 million in COVID-19 education assistance funds allocated to the Bureau of Indian Education directly to the Bureau of Indian Education, rather than going through the Department of Education first. ‘Education. It also extends the period within which the Bureau must allocate these funds from 30 days to 45 days. And, finally, he specifies that the Bureau can use part of these funds to carry out administrative activities for the schools of the Bureau managed by the federal government.
Native American, Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan Education: This change adds a new section under the Indian Affairs Committee which provides $ 190 million to the Department of Education for grants to tribal education agencies, educational organizations Native Hawaiians and Native Alaskan Education organizations. The Department may use these funds for new or additional rewards to eligible entities for purposes permitted by the title of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on the Education of American Indians, Native Hawaiians and Native Americans. Alaskan natives.
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