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McCollum Statement on Proposed Heroes Act Funding for Indian Country

May 14, 2020
Press Release
The next COVID-19 emergency response package must help tribes meet critical needs

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), released the following statement today on the $3 trillion Heroes Act, the next emergency funding bill proposed by House Democrats in response to the pandemic that is impacting all of our communities:

“Native American communities are facing extraordinary challenges during this pandemic. Like many minority communities, they are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, both in terms of the devastating loss of life and in economic harm. I have heard from tribal leaders about the hardships their communities are facing, and how this pandemic has magnified the health disparities and historic lack of resources that already exist within Indian Country. As Chair of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I have been working with those on both sides of the aisle who care about addressing tribes’ critical needs in the $3 trillion Heroes Act introduced in the House this week. This legislation would provide desperately needed funds to tribal governments and health care facilities, including funds to support tribal government services, purchase personal protective equipment, increase broadband and telehealth capacity, and provide clean water and safe housing. The federal government has a responsibility to uphold its trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal nations, and this bill is critical to ensure the health and safety of our Native American brothers and sisters.”

The HEROES Act contains:

Bureau of Indian Affairs – $900 million to meet Tribal government needs necessary to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including:

  • $780 million to continue Tribal government operations and programs and to clean Tribal facilities.
  • $100 million to address overcrowded housing which is prohibiting social isolation.
  • $20 million for sanitation needs to provide for water hydration and hygiene issues to mitigate and respond to coronavirus.

Indian Health Service – $2.1 billion to address health care needs related to coronavirus for Native Americans, including:

  • $1 billion to account for lost third party revenues as a result of reduced medical care.
  • $64 million to assist Urban Indian Organizations.
  • $10 million to assist with sanitation, hydration, and hygiene needs in Indian Country necessary to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
  • $500 million to provide health care, including telehealth services to Native Americans, and to purchase medical supplies and personal protective equipment.
  • $140 million to expand broadband infrastructure and information technology for telehealth and electronic health records system purposes.
  • $20 million to provide health care, housing, and isolation units for domestic violence victims and homeless Native Americans.
  • No less than $366 million to provide isolation or quarantine space.

The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here. A one-pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here.

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