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Posted: March 12, 2021

Navajo Nation Council chambers in Window Rock, Arizona. Photo courtesy Navajo Nation Council.

March 10, 2021

Navajo Nation Council recognizes American Rescue Plan passage

WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — Navajo leaders shared support for the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 by the US House of Representatives today. The Act includes $20 billion in Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funding for Tribal Governments distributed according a formula established by the US Department of the Treasury. The bill will now go to President Biden to sign the Act into law.
“The American Rescue Plan will give the Navajo Nation and all Tribal Nations a fighting chance at ending the spread of the coronavirus among our people sooner rather than later. We have a long recovery ahead of us and we will never forget the devastation wreaked by this virus as we make full use of the resources received by the Nation under the plan. We are deeply appreciative of the Senators and Representatives who voted in support of H.R.1319 and we look forward to President Biden signing the Act into law,” said Speaker Seth Damon (Bááháálí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Tsé Łíchíí’, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh).
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 also includes $6 billion for the Indian Health Service and nearly $5 billion in additional support for housing, education, child care, BIA, infrastructure, language preservation and domestic violence programs in Tribal communities.
“The Navajo Nation’s recovery is just beginning for the Navajo People and the funding and resources from the American Rescue Plan will support the efforts of the Nation and our partners. The CARES Act gave Tribal Governments relief and that has been provided to the Navajo People in the form of water, power and broadband investments to support healthy and sanitary living in the home. Now, we will work together with all internal and external partners to build a stronger recovery on the Navajo Nation,” said Budget and Finance Committee Chair Jamie Henio (Alamo, Ramah,. Tóhajiilee).
The American Rescue Plan has been noted by Congressional leaders as the largest direct relief appropriation to Tribal Nations in history. 
The bill approved by Congress gives the Treasury Department the authority to distribute funds among the 574 federally recognized Tribal Nations in amounts determined by the Secretary.
On Tuesday, Navajo leaders signaled support for an equitable funding formula for Tribal recovery funding under the Treasury Department. Final recommendations for Treasury distribution methods will come after the bill is signed into law and more information is made available.
Speaker Damon also announced Wednesday the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee of the 24th Navajo Nation Council will begin holding work sessions with NavajoNation programs on Mar. 29. The work sessions will establish updated internal Navajo Nation project funding priorities for Tribal Fiscal Recovery Funds.
The Council is expected to introduce legislation following the committee work sessions and after the Navajo Nation has received payment from the US Treasury. Tribal Fiscal Recovery Fund payments are expected no later than 60 days after the Navajo Nation Council approves the needs certification that is required by the Act.
More detail on the funding deliberation and legislative schedule will be shared at a later date by the Office of the Speaker.
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