Trump Signs COVID-Relief and Government FY 2021 Omnibus Bill After Months of Deliberation

To
National Indian Gaming Association Member Tribes
From

Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman
Jason Giles, Executive Director
Danielle Her Many Horses, Deputy Director/General Counsel

re
Trump Signs COVID-Relief and Government FY 2021 Omnibus Bill After Months of Deliberation
Date
January 4th, 2021

On December 28th, President Donald L. Trump signed the FY 2021 Omnibus Appropriations and COVID Relief Bill (H.R. 133) after threatening a veto over numerous provisions that remained unchanged. An agreement between President Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, stipulated that there will be a standalone bill to increase the economic stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, one of the main objections President Trump had over this legislation. The bill, after months of stalemates in Congress, will provide much-needed health care relief to Indian country and includes the largest Indian water rights settlement ever enacted, S. 3109, the Montana Water Rights Protection Act.

Attached is a summary of the provisions for Indian Country and the overall summary of every section of this almost 5,600-page bill can be found here: appropriations.house.gov/news/press-releases/house-democrats-file-omnibus-spending-bill.

You can also find the full legislative text of the bill here: rules.house.gov/bill/116/hr-133-sa.

Although there are many critical provisions for Indian Country included within this legislation, additional Tribal Government Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) did not make the final text. However, an extension for Tribal Governments to spend their initial disbursement of the CRF funds did make the final version, extending the deadline to December 31, 2021.

SUMMARY OF MAJOR TRIBAL COVID RELIEF PROVISIONS

  • CRF Extension - Although there are no new funds for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), the bill extends the deadline to spend CRF payments received by tribal, state, local and territorial governments under the CARES Act to December 31, 2021.
  • Rescission of Federal Reserve Lending Facility Funding - Rescinds $429 billion in Federal Reserve lending authority for the Main Street and Municipal Lending Facilities for corporations and governments.
  • Enhanced Unemployment Assistance - Extends pandemic unemployment assistance to March 31, 2021. The enhanced unemployment assistance is reduced from $600/week to $300/week.
  • Tax Exempt Stimulus Checks - Provides for $600 tax-exempt payments to individuals earning less than $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers) and $600 for dependent children
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - Provides for an additional $285 billion for PPP loans for small businesses.

    • Includes simplified application for PPP loan forgiveness for covered loans made to eligible recipients of not more than $150,000.
    • The definition for PPP “eligible entity” is limited to businesses that employ not more than 300 employees and can prove at least 25% reductions in gross receipts during the pandemic.
    • The definition also has some conflicting language for tribal businesses: It includes “Tribal business concern”, which is later defined as referred to in 15 USC 657a (the HUBZone program) and is helpful; however, the definition for PPP “eligible entity” also references SBA regulation, 13 CFR 120.110, which caused delays in access for some tribal business concerns in the first PPP. As a result, it remains unclear at this time how small tribal government owned gaming operations will be treated under this provision.
    • Makes 501(c)(6) organizations eligible for PPP loans. (pages 2100 - 2105). Eligibility: organization does not receive more than 15% of its receipts from lobbying activities; lobbying activities of the organization do not exceed 15% of organization activities; cost of lobbying activities did not exceed $1 million in most recent tax year that ended prior to February 15, 2020; organization does not exceed 300 employees. In addition, proceeds of a PPP loan may not be used for lobbying activities.
  • Vaccine Distribution - $210M from CDC to be transferred to IHS.
  • Testing, Equipment, Contact Tracing - $790M from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to IHS.
  • SAMHSA - Not less than $125M in additional funding for tribal behavioral health programs.
  • Healthcare Provider Relief Fund - $3B is provided for health care providers, including tribal health care providers, for lost revenue and increased expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Education Stabilization Fund - BIE receives a 0.5% set aside from the fund, totaling approximately $409M with 60% allocated to Elementary and Secondary Schools and 40% to Tribal Colleges and Universities.
  • Tribal Transportation Program - An additional $114.6M is allocated for the Tribal Transportation Program.
  • Indian Housing - provides $800 million to tribal governments and tribal housing authorities as defined in NAHASDA. Eligible uses include providing financial assistance and housing stability services to eligible households. Financial assistance is defined as: payment of rent, rental arrears, utilities and home energy costs and arrears, other expenses relating to housing incurred due to COVID-19.
  • CDFIs in Indian Country - provides for not less than $25 million for Community Development Financial Institutions in Indian Country.
  • Tribal Broadband - $1 billion for “Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants” to expand access to and adoption of broadband service on Tribal land; and remote learning, telework, or telehealth resources during the COVID–19 pandemic. The grant program will be administered by National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
  • Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators - $15B is provided to the Small Business Administration to make grants to live venue operators, theaters, and museums who have had more than a 25% reduction in revenue.

The National Indian Gaming Association thanks our Member Tribes, sister tribal organizations, and champions within Congress for working tirelessly to reach an agreement to provide much-needed relief to Indian Country and for averting another government shutdown, which would have crippled our Tribal Governments.

The National Indian Gaming Association will continue to update our Tribal Member Nations as to the fate of the increased stimulus checks for individuals and any Covid Relief initiatives that the Biden-Harris Administration will embark on after January 21st, 2021.

If you have any questions or concerns with this alert, please email Danielle Her Many Horses at dhermanyhorses@indiangaming.org.