Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee
Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) on March 10 hailed House passage of the American Recovery Plan, which already passed the Senate and which now heads to President Biden’s desk. The bill includes increased funding for coronavirus response in Indian Country, new federal resources to track and control the sources of wildlife-borne diseases, and the ability to enforce stronger limits on trade in dangerous animals.
Those issues have been the focus of Natural Resources Committee hearings and public roundtables since the beginning of the pandemic. Grijalva conferred multiple times with colleagues as the American Recovery Plan was prepared to ensure the landmark bill addressed each issue.
As CNN reported in November of 2020 based on an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black, Hispanic and Native American people infected with COVID-19 are about four times more likely to be hospitalized than others. The American Recovery Plan includes $20 billion for tribal governments, $5.794 billion for Indian Health Services, and $900 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That includes:
- $100 million for tribal house improvement
- $772.5 million for tribal government services, public safety and justice, social services, child welfare assistance, and for other related expenses
- $7.5 million for related federal administrative costs and oversight
- $20 million to provide and deliver potable water
This landmark funding will assist tribal governments, protect Native American language programs, and adequately fund the Indian Health Service to support tribes throughout the pandemic.
The bill includes $75 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address threats to human health from wildlife-borne diseases by strengthening enforcement of wildlife trade and trafficking and improving surveillance and analysis of risky wildlife species. That includes:
- $20 million to FWS to combat wildlife trafficking
- $45 million for to strengthen early detection and rapid response to address wildlife disease outbreaks
- $10 million to carry out provisions of the Lacey Act
It also provides $30 million for the care of rescued or confiscated threatened and endangered wildlife in facilities that have lost revenue due to the pandemic.
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