San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman's open letter to Trump: Stimulus is 'simply not enough’
The Honorable Donald Trump President
The United States of America
The White House
Dear President Trump:
On behalf of the over 16,800 members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe (the "Tribe"), I welcome your announcement of a stimulus package to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Americans will need immediate economic relief. Your announcement is a good start. However, as the stock market has shown with its 10,000-point drop over the last 30 days, this is simply not enough.
Here on our Reservation, out of an abundance of caution, we sent all of our government employees' home on administrative leave, except for first responders and healthcare workers. We have also instituted an emergency response plan. Thankfully, we have not yet experienced a patient testing positive for COVID-19, but, given the rate of incidence, we expect many patients in the near future. We have done our part, yet without sufficient economic or healthcare resources, because we know that to do otherwise would put San Carlos Apaches disproportionately at risk given our small population.
Already, following other major cities and counties throughout the nation, the Mayors of Phoenix and Tucson have declared that all restaurants, bars, gyms and concert venues close. The ripple effect of layoffs will be devastating. People need to pay their rent and mortgages, buy groceries and fuel.
Our Tribe knows first-hand of the benefits of economic stimulus. We have made per capita payments of $500 each December over the last three years. For our members, these payments provided hope and opportunity. These payments also infused economic benefits for our neighboring towns in Gila and Graham Counties. But, the United States is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions, one akin to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the Great Depression of the 1930s.
You have proposed, among other things, $2,000 for every American and $500 billion for small businesses. This is simply not enough. America needs a far more robust, comprehensive and effective stimulus package.
Instead, my humble recommendation is that you consider the following:
(1) Provide one month's net pay to every American making under $250,000 plus suspension of all mortgage and credit card payments for each month during the duration of this pandemic;
(2) All employees taken ill by COVID-19 need national sick leave for up to 30 days; and
(3) For small businesses and local governments with fewer than 1,000 employees, suspend negative covenants in credit facilities under $50 million and provide national business interruption coverage to cover their accounts receivables.
America needs economic leadership. The time is now. All of us are looking to you.
As we say in our Apache language, Ahi'yi'e (thank you) in advance for considering our recommendations. May God save America and the world.
San Carlos Apache Tribe