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Letter to the Hon. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States - Udall, NM Delegation Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Push for Swift, Effective Implementation of Tribal Provisions of the CARES Act


Dear Mr. President,

The CARES Act is landmark legislation that provides critical relief to Tribal governments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Administration undertakes its work to implement this new law, we write to respectfully request that federal resources be deployed expeditiously to Indian Country in a manner consistent with--

The federal government's trust and treaty responsibilities;
Respect for Tribal sovereignty; and
The principles of meaningful government-to-government consultation.

The U.S. government has specific trust and treaty responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives, responsibilities that all federal agencies share equally. Implementation of the CARES Act will require many federal agencies within DOI, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Treasury, the Small Business Administration, and others to work directly with Indian Country on implementation of complicated new authorities and deployment of critical funding.

It is therefore incumbent upon these agencies to respect the inherent sovereignty of Indian Tribes and show deference to Tribal views, particularly as they relate to the use and distribution of CARES Act resources and the Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund that will make an enormous difference in the everyday lives of their members and communities. This can only be accomplished by engaging in meaningful, robust, and -- given the nature of this pandemic crisis -- rapid government-to-government consultation.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to continuing our work with your Administration to ensure Indian Country is included in our national COVID-19 response.