Sinema Reintroduces Bipartisan Bill Increasing Coronavirus Resources for Navajo Nation’s Water and Sanitation Facilities

Jan 29, 2021

Sinema continues her efforts with Senator Romney to boosts funding for the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program to support Navajo Nation during COVID-19 pandemic

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Mitt Romney (Utah) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that invests $1.3 billion in strengthening the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program to support water and sanitation projects for tribal communities. Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) also introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House.
“COVID-19 continues to spread across Arizona, and has devastated Tribal communities like the Navajo Nation. Strengthening the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program ensures Tribal communities have access to safe running water and adequate sanitation to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Sinema.
“With some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, the Navajo Nation faces a dire situation—due in large part to a lack of water infrastructure and sanitation facilities,” Senator Romney said. “Our legislation will address this issue head on by authorizing the construction and renovation of water and sewer sanitation facilities in Native communities in Utah and throughout the country.”

In last year’s end-of-the-year spending bills that were signed into law, Sinema secured funding to help the Indian Health Services address the lack of running water for many communities on tribal reservations. Last May, Sinema urged Congressional leaders to include increased resources for water and sanitation projects for Tribal communities in future coronavirus relief legislation.
An estimated 130,000 homes on Indian reservations lack access to running water and adequate sanitation. Additionally, the Navajo Nation, where 30 percent of the reservation population lacks access to running water, has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections per capita when compared to states throughout the country. Sinema underscored that this deficiency makes Tribal residents more susceptible to COVID-19 and other illnesses due to their inability to take basic preventative measures like handwashing. Sinema called on Congressional leaders to provide additional funding for the Indian Health Service’s Sanitation Facilities Construction Program to address drinking water and sanitation deficiencies on Indian reservations.