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Legislation and Federal Policy

Help Identify Legislative Priorities for Future Emergency Response Packages

FOR USET MEMBER TRIBAL NATIONS: To include any specific items or priorities in USET’s legislative efforts regarding COVID-19 response and relief efforts, please email Liz Malerba.


COVID-19 Assistance Available to Individuals

While the various coronavirus relief aid packages enacted by Congress each contain relief and recovery funds and programs designed to be administered by Tribal Nations, there are also a variety of assistance programs administered by the federal and state governments available to our citizens on an individual basis. We know that many USET SPF Member Tribal Nations seek to assist their citizens in identifying and navigating all available benefits and relief. With this in mind, USET SPF provides a summary (updated 10/19/21) of currently available COVID-19 relief and recovery resources for individuals and families. We will offer periodic updates to this list as further information becomes available.

INVEST in America Act

*Formerly the American Jobs Plan

Tribal Advocacy


American Families Plan

American Families Plan: Recent Tribal Advocacy

American Rescue Plan – 5th COVID Relief Package

American Rescue Plan: Recent Tribal Advocacy

American Rescue Plan Implementation

  • Treasury 9/20: Homeowner Assistance Fund Resources
  • AS–IA 9/14: American Rescue Plan Resources for Tribal Communities
  • HHS 9/10: HHS Announces the Availability of $25.5 Billion in COVID-19 Provider FundingCombined application for American Rescue Plan rural funding and Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 will open on September 29
    HHS announced $25.5 billion in new COVID-19 relief funding for health care providers. HRSA announced $17 billion in Phase 4 funding for the Provider Relief Fund, and $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding for rural health care providers. Unlike earlier distributions, providers will need to apply for this funding. There will be a common application for both sets of funding and the portal will open on September 29, 2021.
    HRSA also announced that it would provide a 60 day grace period for providers to come into compliance with their Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements and they miss the first deadline for reporting on September 30, 2021. Additional information on Phase 4 and rural distributions can be found here.

American Rescue Plan Resources

COVID-19 4th Relief Package

H.R. 133 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

Status: Enacted. Signed by the President on 12/27/20
To read the full legislative text of the entire year-end package click here
For a section-by-section on the stimulus package, click here

4th Package Implementation

CDC Tribal Public Health Security and Preparedness Act

To ensure Tribal Nations have direct access to the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program
Status: Introduced in Senate and House

Tribal Medical Supplies Stockpile Access Act

To Guarantee Tribal Health Authorities Access to the Strategic National Stockpile
Status: Introduced in Senate

H.R. 266 Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

Status: Signed into law on 4/24/20

Third Stimulus: H.R. 748 The CARES Act

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Status: Signed into law on 3/27/20

Tribes have asked IHS for additional clarity on the September 30,th 2021 expiration date for CARES Act funding. Specifically, Tribes have asked whether they need to spend the funding by September 30th, or if the funds are considered obligated once they are added to ISDEAA Funding Agreements, allowing Tribes to expend the funds beyond September 30th
This email provides supplementary guidance clarifying that Tribes do not have to expend their CARES Act funds before September 30th. The funds are already considered obligated once they are added to an ISDEAA funding agreement, and are available to be spent by Tribes until expended.  This is the same approach the DOI has outlined for Tribes receiving CARES Act funds through their resources.
Question: What is the date by which the tribes have to spend all funds?
Answer: The deadline for the Federal Government to obligate funds received under Div. B, Title VII of the CARES Act is September 30, 2021. Once placed in a contract or self-governance agreement, the funds will be available to the tribe until expended.      
Additionally, any PRC funds that were received in the CARES Act do not need to be used for PRC.  Those funds were distributed using the PRC formula, but the CARES Act did not stipulate they were PRC dollars, it was just the way the agency distributed the funds.

CARES Act: Executive Branch Implementation

Treasury’s Coronavirus Relief Fund website, guidance (published 1/15/21), and FAQs (updated 3/2/21)
– 10/21: NAFOA letter requesting clarity on 10/19 CRF FAQs
– 11/20: Treasury’s response to NAFOA

CARES Act: Recent Tribal Implementation Advocacy

H.R. 6201: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Status: Signed into law on 3/18/20

H.R. 6074: The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

(includes $40M Indian country specific component)
Status: Signed into law 3/6/20

Funding Distribution Status: 3/20 HHS announces upcoming action to provide funding to tribes for COVID-19 response

Other Resources and Items of Interest

Legislation and Federal Policy Archive