U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who is a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs member, led a group of 11 senators in an effort to get Senate and U.S. House of Representatives leaders to provide tribal governments more CARES spending flexibility and resources.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the group of senators advocated for each tribal government to have flexibility in their use of CARES Act funds, citing high rates of “obesity, diabetes and other preexisting conditions” as “unique challenges” Native Americans face during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter also urged that tribal governments be put on a level playing field with state and local governments.

“If funding is provided to state and local governments, we strongly encourage the inclusion of funding for tribal governments, as well,” the senators wrote. “There remain tremendous obligations in Indian Country for health care, social programs, housing assistance, and other direct service programs, and additional support is critical to help tribal governments address the needs of their citizens.”

The group also requested in their letter that tribal governments be given more time beyond the December 30, 2020, deadline to spend CARES Act funds.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alask) were among the senators who signed the letter.

Moran is one of two U.S. senators from Kansas currently serving in Congress.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) also serves in Congress and is not up for reelection this year.

The full letter sent to congressional leaders and a list of senators who signed it can be viewed here.


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