O’Halleran, Colleagues Call for Immediate Release of CARES Act Funding to Tribes

April 29, 2020
Press Release

VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK – Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) joined a group of colleagues, including representatives Deb Haaland (NM-01) and Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) in calling on the Treasury Department to immediately release CARES Act funding to Tribes.

The CARES Act included an $8 billion fund to ensure sovereign tribal governments have the resources needed during the coronavirus pandemic, and cover expenditures associated with the public health emergency. However, the distribution of those funds was delayed because members of the Treasury and Interior Departments attempted to award that funding to the Alaska Natives Corporation, a group of for-profit entities that generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and answer to individual shareholders. These entities do not support tribal governments or provide governmental functions and services.

Tribal governments across the country opposed this decision, and O’Halleran joined his colleagues on a letter demanding these entities be excluded from CARES Act allocation. 

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision on April 27 to place a temporary injunction from releasing funds to Alaska Natives Corporation until a final decision is rendered.

In the letter, the members wrote,“The Court’s decision does not prevent the Treasury Department from releasing resources to federally-recognized Tribal and Alaska Native governments… [and] Further postponement in disbursing these funds is unnecessary and works against the federal government’s trust responsibility to the 574 federally recognized tribal nations in the United States.”

The full letter is available here.

In addition to O’Halleran, Haaland, and Gallego, the letter was signed by Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Raúl M. Grijalva, Derek Kilmer, Sharice L. Davids, and Betty McCollum.