On Feb. 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law, enacting the largest package of new spending and tax relief in the nation's history. The $787 billion stimulus legislation contains approximately $2.5 billion directed toward creating jobs and economic opportunity for Indian tribes. Provisions in the bill cover matters of critical importance to tribal communities, including health care, energy and water, transportation infrastructure, education, and housing. In addition to tribe-specific funds, a number of programs and tax incentives, both new and extended, are made available to tribes. In addition, provisions of the bill provide opportunities for tribes to build projects and create on-reservation jobs pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and Self-Governance Acts.
These funds are being administered through the Departments of the Interior, Transportation, Justice, Treasury, Agriculture and Labor. The ARRA uses a number of funding mechanisms to distribute the funds, including tribal set-asides, direct grants and loans administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, competitive grants and formula grants. In addition, there are funds that are designated as part of national programs for which tribes must compete with state and local governments. A summary of the tribal provisions included in the ARRA is available below. As the implementation process unfolds, we will provide further updates.