NEWS FROM THE U.S. SENATE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 31, 2020
Udall, Schumer: Republican Coronavirus Proposal Leaves Tribes, Native Communities Out
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued the following statement on the Republican coronavirus proposal, which shortchanges Tribal governments and Native American communities:
“It is unacceptable that the coronavirus relief package put forward by Senate Republicans sidelines the needs of Tribal governments and Native communities. As Senate Republicans and the Trump administration have dragged their feet, Tribes have been forced to face down a disproportionate toll from the COVID-19 pandemic without the federal resources and support they need.
“Just as we saw with the Republicans’ first CARES Act pitch, this latest Republican proposal fails to uphold the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities. It does not invest any funds to support Tribal governments or essential Tribal government programs. It threatens to exacerbate Native educational inequalities by woefully underfunding Tribal schools and colleges, offering less than one quarter of the budget that Tribes are seeking to prepare their schools for the coming school year. And, in a disturbing reflection of just what is and isn’t important to this administration, the Republican proposal would provide less funding to support COVID-19 prevention and treatment efforts in the Indian Health Service than the White House proposed for renovating the FBI headquarters. Once again, it is clear that Indian Country is not a priority for this administration or Senate Majority Leader McConnell. And, once again, Senate Democrats are standing with Tribal leaders to say that is unacceptable.
“As we move forward, we will stay in close communication with Tribal leaders to push for essential priorities to safeguard the health and economic security of Native communities. We must ensure that Tribal governments have the resources they need to support their COVID-19 response efforts in their own communities. Our obligations, both moral and treaty-bound, demand no less.”