Sinema Urges FEMA to Waive Tribes’ Portion of Costs for Federal Coronavirus Response Efforts

Apr 6, 2020

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema 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’s letter follows the request of Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez that the non-federal cost-share portion of the FEMA-Tribal Agreement be waived.
“Tribal communities in Arizona need every available resource to fight the spread of coronavirus. Waiving Tribes’ portion of federal response costs is a commonsense step to save lives,” said Sinema.  

On April 2, 2020, the Navajo Nation had confirmed 241 COVID-19 cases, and seven deaths attributed to the virus. In recognition of this urgent need, FEMA has already deployed two incident Management Assistance Team personnel to Window Rock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also deployed four CDC Emergency Response Teams to Window Rock to support their efforts. Additionally, Tribes across Arizona, including the Navajo Nation, have had to shut down their Tribal governments, and their normal revenue generating businesses are closed, making extra expenditures during a health crisis dangerous and difficult. Sinema is urging the federal government to waive the Nation’s cost share of federal coronavirus response efforts to protect the health and safety of Tribal communities.  
Recently, Sinema, along with a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers, 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 urged 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,, 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:
Read Sinema’s full letter HERE.