03.25.20

Daines Secures Critical Funding, Stronger Provisions for Tribal Communities in Coronavirus Economic

U.S. SENATE –U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he was able to successfully secure stronger provisions and critical funding for tribal communities in the Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package. Earlier this month, Daines urged President Trump to ensure Montana tribal communities have access to federal assistance during coronavirus outbreak.

“As the Coronavirus pandemic impacts millions of Americans across the country, we cannot ignore one of our most vulnerable populations, Native Americans,” Daines said. “I am glad President Trump, the administration and Senate Leadership acted on my request for stronger funding for our tribal communities. I look forward to getting our tribal communities the resources they need during this global pandemic.”  

Senator Hoeven, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs had this statement: 

"Today, Senator Martha McSally of Arizona and Senator Steve Daines of Montana, both members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, helped secure a significant amount of emergency relief funds for Indian Tribes in the CARES Act, including a historic set aside of $8 billion," said Hoeven. "I thank both Senators for their leadership and dedication. By working together to pass this important piece of legislation, we are providing critical assistance to millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives across the country. Now, Indian Tribes will be better able to help their communities’ small businesses, schools, hospitals and clinics weather the challenges of COVID-19. I hope the House swiftly passes this legislation so the Administration can begin getting these resources out to where they are greatly needed."

Daines fought to include the following provisions for in the Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package:

1)     Guarantees Loans and Stabilization Fund -

Senator Daines secured language that makes tribes and their businesses, including gaming enterprises, eligible for the 500 billion dollar loan guarantee fund. In addition the new language, Senator Daines secured an $8 billion Tribal set aside from the State and Local Stabilization Fund to ensure parity.

2)     Bureau of Indian Education schools (Department of Education)

Senator Daines got language which clarifies that all Bureau of Indian Education schools, including contract and tribally-controlled schools, are eligible to receive certain Department of Education waivers, due to COVID-19.

3)     Unemployment Insurance

Senator Daines secured language which allows for Tribes to participate in the Federal Funding for Unemployment Insurance. This section establishes a process by which the federal government can transfer funds to offer 100% reimbursement to States in order to provide their citizens the 1st week of unemployment payments. The section also outlines the formula and process through which that amount is calculated and how it will be transfer.

4)     National Education Waiver for Tribes

5)     Authorization for the Special Tribal Diabetes program through 2021

6)     Inclusion of Education and Training for Native Americans that are Geriatrics

Daines also secured the following additional provisions:

  • $1.03 billion to the Indian Health Service to support tribal health care system response efforts;
  • $100 million more for the USDA Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations;
  • $453 million to assist tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • $69 million to help tribal schools, colleges and universities through for the Bureau of Indian Education
  • $300 million more to the HUD Indian Housing Block Grant program.

Background:   

Daines has been leading the efforts in Congress to respond to the coronavirus outbreak impacting the country.    

Three weeks ago, Daines brought his proposal and ideas to President Trump at a meeting in the White House.    

On March 25th, 2020, Daines announced that the final Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package will have an additional $23.5 billion for agriculture assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

On March 24th, 2020, Senator Daines took to the floor of the United States Senate with Senator Lindsey Graham to urge an immediate Senate vote to pass the Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package that would provide relief for Montana workers, families, small businesses and healthcare professionals.

On March 23rd, 2020, Daines announced that President Trump announced he will be extending the REAL ID requirements during the coronavirus outbreak, a top priority of Daines

On March 23rd, 2020, Senator Daines sent a bipartisan letter with Senate colleagues to Vice President Pence asking the administration to create two temporary Coronavirus task forces.

On March 23rd, 2020, Daines issued a statement after the Senate voted a second time against the CARES Act, a Coronavirus economic recovery package that would deliver major relief for millions of workers, working families and small businesses in Montana and across the country.

On March 23rd, 2020, Daines sponsored the Immediate Relief for Rural Facilities and Providers Act, to address the impending crisis facing our health care system as the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) increasingly strains hospitals and providers across the country. 

On March 22nd, 2020, Daines announced a plan and over $10 billion in funding for accelerated drug development and manufacturing to treat and prevent the Coronavirus.

On March 21st, 2020, Daines announced that President Trump signed his bipartisan bill, the Emergency GI Fix for Coronavirus School Closures, into law. This legislation will stop veterans, and those who depend on them, from losing GI Bill education benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak.

On March 21st, 2020, Daines sent a letter to Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging inclusion of expanded and robust federal unemployment insurance in the Coronavirus economic relief package in negotiations today. 

On March 20th, 2020, Daines urged President Trump to prioritize the shipment of essential goods such as medical supplies, agricultural commodities, and energy, which will help local Montana businesses and border communities, during ongoing negotiations with Canada over travel restrictions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic 

On March 20th, 2020, Daines cosponsored a bipartisan bill that provides relief to Montana ranchers during the Coronavirus outbreak.  

On March 20th, 2020, President Trump extended the tax filing deadline three months, from April 15th 2020 to  July 15th, 2020. Earlier this week, Daines introduced a bipartisan bill urging the administration do so.

On March 20th, 2020, Daines cosponsored a bipartisan bill that provides relief to Montana ranchers during the Coronavirus outbreak.

On March 19th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Wilkie stressing the need to care for veterans in Montana who struggle with mental health and who may be found to have increased stress during the coronavirus outbreak.  

On March 19th, 2020, Daines introduced legislation to extend the tax filing deadline from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020 to provide additional relief to Montanans during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 19th, 2020, Daines cosponsored a bill to appropriate $17 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make payments on all 7a, 504, and microloans for the next six months.

On March 18th, 2020, Daines voted for a Coronavirus relief bill which requires free testing for the Coronavirus, ensures paid and sick family leave for Montana’s families and workers and provides emergency nutritional assistance for seniors, women, children and low income families. This bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, is Phase Two of Congress’ response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

On March 18th, 2020, Daines sponsored legislation to delay the impact of the recent accounting rule change for current expected credit losses (CECL) during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines introduced legislation to require private health insurance plans to cover treatments or vaccines for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, with no cost sharing.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines announced the Trump administration will be expanding access to Medicare telehealth services during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to enable thousands of federal civil servants, who have experience with rapid emergency response, to assist rural communities that are increasingly overwhelmed by the challenge of responding to the Coronavirus outbreak.   

On March 17th, 2020, Daines announced the Small Business Administration (SBA) declared that Flathead, Gallatin, Missoula, Sheridan, Silver Bow, Wheatland, Beaverhead, Broadwater, Daniels, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Glacier,  Golden Valley, Granite, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Park, Pondera, Powell, Ravalli, Roosevelt, Sanders, Sweet Grass, and Teton counties will be eligible to apply for additional funding under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Declaration.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines introduced a bipartisan bill that directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to delay enforcement of REAL ID for at least one year in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Daines has been proactively working with the Trump administration on a delay of REAL ID for Montana.

On March 17th, 2020, Daines unveiled three more major proposals that will help protect Montana’s workers, families, first responders and small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 16th, 2020, Daines announced that the Senate passed his bipartisan bill that protects veterans and their dependents from losing GI Bill education benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak while they take part in online classes.

On March 16th, 2020, Daines announced $4.5 million awarded to Montana to help support the coronavirus response and protect public health. 

On March 16th, 2020, Daines urged President Trump to ensure Montana tribal communities have access to federal assistance during coronavirus outbreak.

On March 14th, 2020, Daines urged Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Gaynor to ensure Indian Health Service (IHS) has the resources needed to provide coronavirus testing for tribal communities.

On March 13th, 2020, Daines issued a statement yesterday on President Trump declaring a national emergency for coronavirus.

On March 12th, 2020, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation to provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Assistance would be available to individuals, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts.

On March 9th, 2020, Daines unveiled a slate of proposals and priorities he’s working to advance that will help protect Montana families and their finances during the Coronavirus outbreak including paid leave, temporarily waiving payroll taxes, providing relief from tariffs, and ensuring access to affordable testing.

On March 9th, 2020, Daines sent a letter urging the Trump administration to take swift action to make testing for the Coronavirus affordable.

The following day the IRS immediately announced it would adopt Daines’ proposal to remove financial barriers to testing and treatment for the Coronavirus by allowing high deductible health plans to cover Coronavirus-related testing and treatment before a patient has met their deductible.   

Congress passed the Coronavirus emergency supplemental earlier this month which included $8.3 billion to combat this crisis, including nearly $1 billion for state and local preparedness and response.

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