The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a bill cosponsored by Rep. Greg Stanton that will significantly help tribal nations with the financial burden of fighting COVID-19.
The FEMA Assistance Relief Act of 2020, H.R. 8266, eases COVID-19-related financial burdens on state, local, and tribal governments by increasing the federal cost share of FEMA assistance from 75 to 100 percent.
Stanton repeatedly pushed for the cost share adjustment in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and was an original cosponsor of the bill after the Trump Administration refused to take action on the issue.
In April, Stanton and more than 175 of his House colleagues urged the Trump Administration to eliminate the non-Federal cost share, noting the severity and magnitude of the crisis. Stanton also echoed Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez’s request that the Administration waive the local cost share to help the Nation fight the pandemic, which the Administration had the authority to do on its own without congressional approval. Stanton’s request went ignored by the White House.
“Tribal communities, including the Navajo Nation, have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19. As cases surge to record levels across the country, the federal government has a duty to leverage the full weight of its resources to help tribal communities battle this pandemic,” Stanton said. “After months of inaction by this Administration, I’m proud the House has taken this long-overdue step and I hope the Senate acts swiftly to pass this life-saving legislation.”
The bill now heads to the Senate.
Full text of the bill is available here.