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Lawmakers Release Framework for Fourth COVID Stimulus Package, Passes Continuing Resolution until December 18

December 11, 2020

On Wednesday, December 9, 2020, a centrist group of lawmakers released a framework for an Emergency COVID Relief legislative package. This emergency relief is slated to be voted on along with the remaining appropriations bills to fully fund the budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Release of the framework follows months of gridlock on not only FY 21 appropriations but also a fourth COVID-19 emergency relief package. The last COVID-19 follows months of gridlock on FY 2021 appropriations, forcing Congress to pass a continuing resolution (CR) keeping the federal government open through December 18, 2020.
The proposal is worth about $908 billion, aiming to break a months-long partisan impasse over emergency federal relief for the U.S. economy amid the ongoing pandemic. The group released a framework summary of the core components of the legislation. It includes an “agreement in principle” to provide $160 billion to state, local, and Tribal governments as the basis for good faith negotiations. It also extends pandemic unemployment insurance programs by 16 weeks, puts more funding into PPP, and includes new funding for testing, tracing, and vaccine deployment and distribution. Indian health providers would also receive supplemental funding under this framework.
Among the framework, the Tribal health provisions included are:
  • $1 billion set-aside from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) for Tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, and health service providers to Tribes
  • $129 million set-aside for Tribes for development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines
  • $350 million Tribal set-aside for COVID-19 testing and tracing
  • $300 million for Health Workforce programs, including the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps, to support loan repayment to recruit clinicians for underserved areas
  • Authorizes states, Tribes and territories to enter into interstate compacts or agreements, for the purposes of procuring COVID-19 tests and supplies for such tests
  • Extends telehealth flexibilities through December 31, 2021
  • $3.15B to SAMHSA programs for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, Tribal programs, emergency relief, and peer recovery programs
  • $150M to the Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs) Program

Lawmakers have hoped that elements of a bipartisan deal could be added to the spending bill required to avoid a government shutdown.  This legislative framework allows the bipartisan group to show that there is a path forward on mutually agreed upon priorities, which could help move McConnell, Schumer, the White House, and Speaker Pelosi closer to a final deal. NIHB will continue to advocate for Tribal health priorities through the next COVID-19 emergency relief package and the reconciliation and passage of remaining Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bills.

For any questions, contact NIHB Director of Congressional Relations, Shervin Aazami, at saazami@nihb.org

Last modified: December 16, 2020