Congress approves the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to
provide COVID-19 relief, stimulus checks, unemployment benefits
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer commend the passage of the American Rescue Plan by Congress on Wednesday, a $1.9 trillion relief package designed to help the United States recover from the devastating impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which includes $20 billion for federally-recognized tribes to help mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus.
The U.S. House passed the original American Rescue Plan bill on Feb. 17. On March 6, the Senate passed its version of the bill, which was sent back to the House for a final vote on Wednesday. President Biden is expected to sign the rescue package into law later this week.
“We appreciate the support of Congress and our federal partners and for working together with our administration to ensure that all tribal nations were included in the American Recovery Plan. We look forward to President Biden signing the measure into law and we are eager to continue working with the Department of the Treasury. The bill provides significant discretion for the Secretary of the Treasury to determine funding for each tribe. Our administration recommended that allocations for tribes be based on four factors that include population, land base, number of employees, and direct COVID-19 impacts measured by coronavirus infections, deaths, and other key factors. The Navajo Nation was hit very hard by COVID-19, but thanks to our health care workers, frontline warriors, and our Navajo people, we are pushing back and fighting hard to mitigate the impacts and save lives. With the new relief funds, we anticipate providing more direct relief and assistance for our Navajo people as well as funding projects that provide long-term benefits,” said President Nez.
In addition, the American Rescue Plan would also provide approximately $6 billion for Indian Health Service, $1.2 billion for HUD tribal and Native Hawaiian housing programs, $1.1 billion for educational programs including the Bureau of Indian Education, over $1 billion for tribal child care programs and $75 million for tribal TANF, $900 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs, $600 million for economic and infrastructure investments, $20 million to mitigate the impact of on Native languages, and $19 million to help combat domestic violence.
“The Navajo Nation is fighting hard to mitigate through this pandemic. With the CARES Act funds, we were able to provide direct relief for our Navajo people in the form of financial relief, PPEs, food and water, and cleaning supplies. We also assisted businesses and entrepreneurs who were hit hard by the pandemic. Through the collaboration of many entities, the Nation was also able to provide water resources, bathroom additions, electricity, internet service, and other improvements for many families and communities. We look forward to continuing building off of that success and working together to make more progress,” said Vice President Lizer.
The American Rescue Plan also includes $1,400 stimulus checks for qualified individuals and dependents, extends unemployment compensation, continues existing eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, funding for schools to mitigate COVID-19, and provides funds for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.