Senate Passes One Year Extension for Tribal Governments to Utilize COVID Relief

Last night, the United States Senate passed the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011), which includes a one-year extension of the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) deadline to allow Tribal governments additional time to use CARES CRF allocations. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), is a cosponsor to S. 3011 and was able to secure inclusion of the tribal extension in the legislation.

“I worked hard to include this important language and am relieved the Senate passed this critical extension for Tribes to be able to expend CARES Act funds. This extension will create parity for many Tribes that received distributions more than a year after initial tribal disbursements began due to lengthy litigation. Tribes that did not receive timely access to funds deserve more time to responsibly spend their distributions and this bill will allow for that. This is important legislation that I urge the House to quickly pass so Tribes across the country will have certainty and be better able to assist their communities who experienced extreme hardship due to COVID-19,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski.


  • On August 5, 2021, along with the leadership of the Finance Committee and Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Murkowski offered amendments to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to extend the CARES Act CRF deadline to December 31, 2022 for Tribal governments and to clarify funding for counties under the American Rescue Plan. Senators Sullivan and Murkowski also offered an amendment to extend the CARES Act deadline for Tribes.
  • On September 14, 2021, Senators Sullivan, Murkowski, Hirono, and Schatz introduced S.2728, a bill to amend title VI of the Social Security Act to extend the coverage of Coronavirus Relief Fund payments to Tribal governments.
  • On October 19, 2021, S. 3011, the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act passed the Senate. This bill was introduced as an updated standalone version of the amendments offered to H.R. 3684.
  • On October 20, 2021, Vice Chairman Murkowski mentioned the recent Senate passage of S. 3011 during a SCIA roundtable, Investing in Economic Sovereignty: Leveraging Federal Financing for New and Sustained Development in Native Communities, and how this bill will greatly help tribal communities across the country.

The bill, S. 3011, now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Related Issues: Alaska Natives & Rural Alaska