Lawmakers Seek Waiver of COVID Cost-Sharing For Tribes

HYANNIS – Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation are reiterating their request that he direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to waive cost-sharing requirements for COVID-19 related assistance for the state’s federally recognized tribes.

That includes the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.

The delegation wrote that the tribes do not have a tax base to help cover the cost of service to their citizens, which has led to them not being able to implement all of the emergency measures that they could have if they did not need to share the cost.

This is the second letter sent by the delegation, after one in April requesting the president “to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to waive the traditional cost share requirements for all COVID-19–related assistance.”

Chairpersons from the two tribes also wrote requests to Trump in April requesting a waiver.

Trump has not yet replied to those April letters, which lawmakers pointed out in the most recent letter.

“We have not received a reply to our letter, nor have the tribal nations received a response to their requests. Given the emergency faced by the tribal nations, and their nation-to-nation relationship with the federal government, further delays are unacceptable,” wrote the congressional delegation.

The delegation also wrote that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Native communities, with seven tribal nations having case rates higher than any state in the United States, according to the letter.

The request was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and members of congress Richard Neal, James McGovern, Stephen Lynch, William Keating, Katherine Clark, Joseph Kennedy III, Seth Moutlon, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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