Tribes Take Battle Over Covid Emergency Funds to DC Circuit
September 14, 2020
WASHINGTON (CN) — Nearly six months after Congress earmarked $8 billion for Native tribes in the CARES Act, the Treasury Department argued to the D.C. Circuit on Friday that it can lawfully hand out portions of the coronavirus relief funds to Alaska Native corporations.
Over a dozen tribes have challenged the plan by the Trump administration to send federal money to the so-called ANCs. They argue Congress intended for the pandemic relief to go only to the 574 tribes — many hard hit by the deadly outbreak and the economic fallout it triggered — that have a government-to-government relationship with the United States.
“Corporations do not have sovereign governmental powers. They do not enjoy the government-to-government relationship with the United States,” attorney Riyaz Kanji, arguing for tribes from Alaska and the Lower 48, said Friday.