The CARES Act: Federal Support for Washington State Tribes

Senator Patty Murray
2 min readApr 6, 2020

Congress recently passed the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help support workers, families, businesses, communities and more struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic and response. The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and contains new provisions to provide relief to all Washington state communities, including Washington state tribes. Senator Murray will continue working to build on the steps taken in the CARES Act to further support Washington state tribal communities.

Washington state tribes have been proactive in addressing coronavirus, but as it continues to spread, tribal communities, including health care services and other critical programs, could easily be overwhelmed. Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, fought to secure the following provisions for Indian Country in the Senate package to help tribes deal with the outbreak of COVID-19.

🔘 Tribal Government Assistance: $8 billion nationally set-aside for tribal government assistance with COVID-19 response, with funds expected to be allocated to tribes by April 26

🔘 Indian Health Services: $1.03 billion nationally to the Indian Health Service to support tribal health care system response efforts, with direct grants to Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) and tribally operated health services

🔘 Food Assistance: $100 million more nationally for the USDA Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations

🔘 Tribal Administrative Support: $453 million nationally to assist tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs

🔘 Education: $69 million nationally to help tribal schools, colleges and universities through for the Bureau of Indian Education

🔘 Tribal Housing: $300 million nationally to the Housing and Urban Development Indian Housing Block Grant program, including an estimated $12.3 million for Washington state

Photo credit: © Washington State Department of Ecology