Bill would offer tribes more time to use CARES Act funds

Bipartisan legislation to extend coverage of payments from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security to tribal governments for a year, ending on Dec. 30, 2022, has been introduced in the U.S. House.

The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, allocated $8 billion for tribal governments through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, but tribes did not start receiving money until May 5, 2020, well after the bill’s statutory deadline, said Representatives Don Young, R-Alaska, and Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., sponsors of the bill.

“Time is running out both to dispense relief funding, and for tribal organizations to utilize it,” Young said. Without adequate time to utilize these funds, tribal recovery from the pandemic becomes more difficult, and the deadline by which relief money must be spent should be extended, he said.