Tribal Governments Faced "Irreparable Harm" After Trump Admin Never Gave Them COVID-19 Aid
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Huffpost Reports: Judge Orders Trump Administration To Give Tribes Their COVID-19 Relief Funds
The Trump administration was supposed to give Native American tribal governments $679 million in emergency COVID-19 relief funds months ago. Now, a judge has ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to provide the aid and stated that the agency caused "irreparable harm" as a result of the delays.
“Continued delay in the face of an exceptional public health crisis is no longer acceptable,” said U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who gave Mnuchin until Wednesday to disburse the funds.
This isn't the first time the incompetence of the Treasury Department has been on full display. Back in March, Congress set aside $8 billion in aid for tribes in the CARES Act. The agency was supposed to provide by aid by April 26th. Meanwhile they didn't get the money out the door until late May and that was only $4.8 billion worth. They didn't get tribes the remaining $3.2 billion until last Friday.
The delays have stemmed largely from the Treasury Department’s incompetence in working with tribes, but a lawsuit over Alaska Native Corporations’ eligibility for funds also complicated matters. The latest problem is that Mnuchin has been withholding $679 million of tribes’ money while a separate court challenge plays out over the agency’s methodology for calculating how much money tribes get.
The incompetence of Trump administration officials has put lives on the line. It needs to end now.