FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2020
Congress Agrees to $8.3 Billion Funding Package in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak
Today, House and Senate negotiators introduced an $8.3 billion package aimed at tackling the recent spread of COVID-19 ("coronavirus") in the United States. The package, under
provides billions of dollars to spearhead medical research and vaccine development, provide relief to local businesses impacted by the coronavirus, and bolster preparedness and response efforts for state, local, Tribal, and urban Indian health entities. Roughly $3 billion is allocated to the National Institutes of Health for research into vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other measures. In addition, $1 billion is allocated for purchasing of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and another $264 million is to bolster operations at the U.S. Department of State. For a summary of the bill,
Funding for Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations
In addition to the funding items outlined above, the bill includes $950 million in grants and cooperatives agreements to be administered through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for state and local governments, Tribal governments, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations for public health preparedness and response activities including epidemiology, lab capacity, infection control, communications, and other efforts. Thanks to continued advocacy across Indian Country, of the $950 million total,
$40 million is set aside specifically for Tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations
In addition, the package includes language authorizing use of bill funds to reimburse federal agencies such as Indian Health Service, and also Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations that may have assumed costs related to coronavirus response and mitigation prior to enactment of the supplemental funding package.
With the House having cleared the bill earlier today, the Senate is expected to pass the bill by the end of the week or early next week.
In his remarks on the Senate floor yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) specifically brought attention to concerns around lack of available resources to address coronavirus cases and potential outbreaks in Indian Country, stating that:
"Yesterday, we heard from the National Indian Health Board that Indian Health Service and Tribal health facilities are largely being left behind in the coronavirus response and have received few, if any, resources. This is unacceptable."
NIHB will continue to monitor the legislation and the health risks currently affecting Indian Country amid the coronavirus spread and will share timely updates as they become available.