President Donald Trump visited Phoenix on Tuesday to tour a Honeywell plant which has begun making N95 respirators to help the United States’ battle with the coronavirus.
During Trump’s visit to Phoenix, he signed a presidential proclamation designating Tuesday at Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day. The signing took place as Trump hosted a roundtable discussion with several Native American leaders.
Tuesday's proclamation comes amid a battle between Native Americans and the Treasury Department over a disputed $8 billion as part of the CARES Act. The Treasury Department is in the midst of a lawsuit with Native American tribes over where the $8 billion should be directed.
On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that 60% of the $8 billion is now available for Native American groups.
“We are pleased to begin making $4.8 billion in critical funds available to Tribal governments in all states,” said Secretary Mnuchin. “Our approach is based on the fair balancing of tribal needs.”
The Treasury Department says that the funds will be distributed the following ways:
· Distribute 60 percent of the $8 billion to Tribes based on population data used in the distribution of the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), subject to a floor of $100,000. This data is based on U.S. Census figures and is already familiar to Tribal governments.
· Distribute the remaining 40 percent of the $8 billion based on the total number of persons employed by the Indian tribe and any tribally-owned entity, and further data to be collected related to the amount of higher expenses faced by the tribe in the fight against COVID-19.
· Payment to Tribes will begin today based on the population allocation, and will take place over several banking days. Amounts calculated for Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act regional and village corporations will be held back until pending litigation relating to their eligibility is resolved.
· Payments to tribes based on employment and expenditure data will be made at a later date. Treasury will work with Tribes to confirm employment numbers and seek additional information regarding higher expenses due to the public health emergency.