$2.2 Trillion (CARES) Act
April 1, 2020

Understanding the opportunity for Tribal access to the largest appropriation in US history

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by March 27, 2020. The $2.2 trillion piece of legislation is Congress’ response to the growing coronavirus outbreak, and the damage it has done to the economy. This is the largest appropriation in a single bill in United States history.

The CARES Act provides emergency assistance and health care response to individuals, families, businesses and most importantly to Tribal governments.  There are a number of funding sources available to Tribes under the CARES Act.  Some funding will be provided to you automatically on a formula basis while other funding will require submission of an application or other supporting documents.

One of the most significant funding opportunities for Tribes will be provided under the Coronavirus Relief Fund.  This is a separate line item in the CARES Act distinct from the appropriations that are being provided directly to the Federal agencies. A total of $8 billion has been set-aside under this Fund for Tribal Governments to use for expenditures that were due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The specific language on the CARES Act pertaining to the Funds is as follows:

TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS.—From the amount set aside under subsection (a)(2)(B) for fiscal year 2020, the amount paid under this section for fiscal year 2020 to a Tribal government shall be the amount the Secretary shall determine, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and Indian Tribes, that is based on increased expenditures of each such Tribal government (or a tribally-owned entity of such Tribal government) relative to aggregate expenditures in fiscal year 2019 by the Tribal government (or tribally-owned entity) and determined in such manner as the Secretary determines appropriate to ensure that all amounts available under subsection (a)(2)(B) for fiscal year 2020 are distributed to Tribal governments

Tribal leaders will soon have an opportunity to input on how these funds will be distributed. Further guidance will then be developed and issued to all Tribes.  This process will be conducted in a very expeditious manner and you are strongly encouraged to provide your voice in shaping the distribution of these funds.  The Coronavirus Relief Fund and the myriad of other funding opportunities for Tribes under the CARES Act are designed to provide Tribes with the necessary resources to address the coronavirus crisis.

As we begin to navigate through this critical process, Blue Stone is here to support your efforts to address the coronavirus emergency in a variety of ways.  This is particularly important to those of you who have closed Tribal operations and limited administrative support at this time. A few examples of how the Blue Stone team can assist you with the recently passed stimulus bill are as follows:

  • Providing technical support for your participation in Tribal consultation sessions pertaining to the $8 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund
  • Tribal Economy Impact Analysis to properly document the financial impact the coronavirus crisis has had on your Tribal economy
  • Reviewing casino and all other Tribal business operations to determine the extent to which revenues have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus and providing guidance for casino innovations moving forward
  • Preparing and submitting documents that will be required for accessing funding under the Relief Fund
  • Identifying other funding sources that will or could be available to your Tribal government
  • Conducting a strategic planning session to ensure that sufficient administrative capacity currently exists within your Tribe to efficiently access and process this sudden influx of Federal funds
  • Identifying and recruiting positions for additional staff that may be needed
  • Reviewing specific areas (i.e. health care, housing, education) to determine the most appropriate program uses for additional earmarked funds that will be coming

Blue Stone Strategy Group is deeply committed to assisting Tribal Nations in addressing the many issues you are facing because of the coronavirus. Please consider taking a few minutes to talk with us about this important matter. Feel free to contact our team at 949-476-8828 to schedule a meeting or email me at jfullmer@bluestonestrategy.com.  Thank you for your continued leadership and commitment to this crucially important issue.