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Posted: June 2, 2020
treasury department

The U.S. Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., is seen from barricades installed amid #GeorgeFloyd protests at the White House. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

The Trump administration will be delaying payments from the second round of the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund, a senior official announced in a court filing on June 2, 2020.

Tribes were told to expect payments from the remaining $3.2 billion this week. But Daniel Kowalski, Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, told a federal judge that the money won’t going out as planned.

The reason, according to Kowalski, is a significant number of tribes have submitted “incomplete” and “incorrect” information. The Department of the Treasury has been reaching out to 336 tribes, a process that is expected to conclude on June 3. Additionally, 57 tribes had yet to submit data.

“Because of the surprisingly large number of incomplete and/or incorrect submissions, Treasury expects that the timeline of its allocation determinations and payments will necessarily be moved back by approximately one week,” Kowalski states in the sworn declaration.

Congress authorized the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. The law required Treasury to distribute the money “not later than 30 days” after its enactment on March 27.

During consultation calls with tribes in early April, Kowalski had promised an allocation formula would be released in the middle of the month. That never happened.

Treasury then promised tribes payments would go out by the end of April. That never happened either — Treasury admitted in court that it was having difficulty developing allocation formula.

On May 5, Treasury finally announced it was going to distribute 60 percent of the fund, or $4.8 billion, based on a formula tied to U.S. Census Bureau data. Tribes have complained that the information is inaccurate.

The department subsequently asked tribes to submit additional employment and expenditure data. It is these submissions which have caused trouble for Treasury, according to court filings.

NEWS: ‘Incompetence’: Trump administration warns of delayed COVID-19 relief for tribes

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