WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema hosted a call with leaders from the Navajo Nation, including Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer, to discuss the need for the federal government to work with the Navajo Nation to help stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
“Federal leaders must engage in government-to-government consultation with the Navajo Nation to ensure they have the health resources and economic support needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak consistent with the federal government’s trust and responsibilities and respect for Tribal sovereignty,” said Sinema.
 
As of April 6, 2020, the Navajo Nation had confirmed 354 COVID-19 cases, and 14 deaths attributed to the virus. Following Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez’s request that the non-federal cost-share portion of the FEMA-Tribal Agreement be waived, Sinema recently urged the Director of FEMA to waive tribal governments’ portion of costs of FEMA’s coronavirus response efforts to protect the health and safety of tribal communities.
 
Sinema, along with a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers, also urged the administration to swiftly implement the bipartisan CARES Act law and ensure resources are deployed quickly to support Tribal communities in Arizona. Sinema also asked the administration to make a stronger effort in consulting with Tribal Nations in order to truly reduce the spread of coronavirus throughout Arizona.
 
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Sinema-shaped legislative package that included robust support of $10 billion in Tribal government services and programs, including $2 billion for the Indian Health Services, to ensure Native communities across Arizona get the health care and resources they need.
 
Sinema has a resources page on her website, www.sinema.senate.gov/corona, for Arizonans looking for updated information in English and Spanish on the coronavirus.
 
The U.S. Department of Treasury and Indian Affairs are seeking input from Tribes on developing how the Coronavirus Relief Fund will be allocated to tribal governments. For more information please visit: https://www.bia.gov/covid-19/cares-act.
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