U.S. Treasury Needs More Time To Disperse Funds To Tribes
The U.S. Treasury Department is not unreasonably delaying the release of coronavirus relief funding to Native American tribes, according to a federal judge’s ruling this week.
The Treasury Department is figuring out how to disburse $8 billion to tribes that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Congress approved the relief package in late March. But tribes didn’t see any of the money until early May. And 40% has been withheld.
The judge told tribes to give the department a little more time. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin estimates the department has spent 2,200 hours so far on the effort because Congress required it to consult with tribes.
The department is gathering more data before releasing the rest. It’s also holding on to an undisclosed amount until a separate lawsuit involving Alaska Native Corporations is resolved.