Press Releases

Rep. Horn Addresses Over 1000 Tribal Leaders at Virtual Town Hall

Rep. Horn continues fight for inclusion of Indian Country in COVID-19 federal funds distribution

Washington, March 26, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Today, Congresswoman Kendra Horn (OK-5) addressed over one thousand tribal leaders, government officials, and professionals including the executive directors of the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Health Board, the National Indian Gaming Association, and the National Indian Education Association on a virtual town hall hosted by the Native American Finance Officers Association to discuss legislative advances for Indian Country in the wake of COVID-19.

“Indian Country cannot be left behind,” said Congresswoman Kendra Horn. “We know that Tribal Nations face a unique set of challenges as COVID-19 continues to spread. I am proud to champion bicameral, bipartisan efforts to fight for equal access to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) as well as federal funds for Tribal Nations, businesses, the Indian Health Service, education, housing, and food distribution. During this crisis, we must work to provide Tribal Nations with critical support and meaningful engagement that affirms Tribal sovereignty and the vital role they have as public health defenders and partners in combatting this epidemic.”

"Congresswoman Kendra Horn demonstrated her leadership and commitment to addressing the critical needs of Indian Country during the COVID-19 crisis by participating in today’s virtual Tribal Leader Town Hall hosted by NAFOA. This is the second virtual town hall and is a coordinated effort of several national Native American organizations to provide direct updates to tribal governments throughout the country,” said Dante Desiderio, the Executive Director of Native American Finance Officers Association. “Congresswoman Horn discussed the bi-partisan support of Indian Country’s inclusion in the third phase of COVID-19 stimulus legislation and stressed that continued open communication from tribal advocates is important for elected representatives to better understand the vital needs of this country’s Indigenous people."

The bipartisan agreement on the CARES Act that passed the Senate early this morning includes an $8 billion dollar relief fund for Tribal governments and Tribally-owned entities to use as a result of COVID-19-related revenue declines. This will provide accessible, flexible funds for all federally-recognized Tribes to utilize for response and recovery, and to continue providing essential government services. The bill ensures that Tribes and Tribally-owned businesses have the resources they need to cover the costs of employee payroll and unemployment insurance. The CARES Act is expected to be voted on in the House tomorrow.

On Monday, Congresswoman Kendra Horn introduced the bipartisan Tribal Medical Supplies Stockpile Access Act. This legislation would guarantee the Indian Health Service (IHS), tribal health authorities, and urban Indian organizations access to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), a federal repository of drugs and medical supplies that can be tapped if a public health emergency exhausts local supplies. Currently, IHS and tribal health authorities' access to the SNS is limited and not guaranteed in the SNS statute.

Congresswoman Horn, a member of the Congressional Native American Caucus, has worked closely with other members of Congress to develop policies that strengthen partnerships with Tribal Nations and respect Tribal sovereignty.