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May 22nd, 2020
Chair Grijalva Criticizes Trump Admin for Botched Coronavirus Response in Indian Country, Calls for Immediate Release of Tribal Education Funding Passed in CARES Act

Washington, D.C. – Today Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement calling on the Department of Education and the Department of the Interior to release the education funding for the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) that was included in H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and signed into law on March 27, 2020.


“Every day, children and families in Indian Country are suffering at the hands of the Trump administration’s botched coronavirus response,” said Chair Grijalva. “As soon as we passed the CARES Act, BIE and the Department of Education should have developed plans on how to get this urgent financial assistance to tribal communities. Instead, nearly two months later, tribal nations are disproportionately suffering from high rates of coronavirus and the Trump administration continues to do nothing for them. Included in the long list of actions that the Administration should be taking to support Indian Country, BIE and the Department of Education should release the critical tribal educational funding we included in the CARES Act – yesterday. As our nation continues to fight this pandemic, we cannot leave our Native youth behind.”


Chair Grijalva was instrumental in securing funding provisions for Indian Country.


The CARES Act provided $30 billion for the Department of Education’s Education Stabilization Fund, which included a set-aside of $153.75 million for BIE funded programs. In addition, out of the $69 million allocated for BIE operations, $46 million was set aside for covering the costs of shifting BIE elementary and secondary schools to remote learning. To date, it has been 56 days since the CARES Act became law, yet neither Department has not announced its plans for the distribution of these funds to BIE schools.


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