After Tester Push, HHS Releases Critical Funds for Indian Country to Combat COVID-19
Tester: “In a crisis like this, every second matters, and keeping millions of dollars from reaching the ground is unconscionable”
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar finally released $80 million in critical health care funds to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
“I’m relieved Secretary Azar finally released the critical funds for Indian Country to combat the COVID-19 outbreak that Congress appropriated weeks ago – but to say this delay was unacceptable would be a gross understatement,” said Tester. “In a crisis like this, every second matters, and keeping millions of dollars from reaching the ground is unconscionable. Lives are at stake, and every day wasted puts our Tribes further behind the curve in their ability to respond to this crisis.”
Tester wrote a letter to Azar on Friday demanding HHS release the funds Congress appropriated as a part of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was signed into law on March 6. In addition to these funds, Tester also fought to secure $64 million in funding to Indian Health Services as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and has pressed the Administration to work with Native American communities and Tribal leaders in coordinating their response to the outbreak.