Nevada Sen. Cortez Masto gives update on COVID relief for tribal communities

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) said she is continuing to push Congress to include more coronavirus relief aid to Native American communities in Nevada.

Cortez Masto was on a call Wednesday with the Duckwater Shoshone tribe who is asking for more assistance. They already received money from prior coronavirus relief packages to help with their broadband program, but they are requesting more funds for healthcare needs amid the pandemic.

“There’s not enough testing in our communities, in our tribal communities,” the Nevada senator said. “That is my fight,” she continued.

Cortez Masto said she is concerned the $8 billion for tribal communities already secured for tribal communities hasn’t reached its members.

“A couple weeks ago, I was on Senate Indian Affairs and had the Director of Indian Health indicate to me that they haven’t allocated all the money yet and that is frustrating,” she said.

Cortez Masto said it is especially challenging because tribal communities were already struggling to provide healthcare before the pandemic hit. She said she is on regular Zoom calls with tribal leaders to find out how Congress can help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19 pandemic has really shined a light on the lack of healthcare services in our tribal communities. They were already underfunded,” she said.

The Nevada senator wants to see the federal government share more COVID data with tribes. She sent a letter to the Center for Disease Control urging the government agency to share their research about the spread of the virus among tribal groups.

Cortez Masto is not alone in her efforts. Her Nevada colleague, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), has been also working to secure funding to help Native Americans combat the health crisis.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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