Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > CARES Act lawsuit delay
Posted: April 22, 2020

The U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C. Photo: Joe Campbell

With just minutes to go before a brief in the CARES Act lawsuit was due in federal court, the Trump administration says it won’t be able to file it on time as originally ordered.

“Defendant regrets the late nature of this filing,” government attorneys said in a motion filed shortly before the brief was due at 5pm Eastern on April 22, 2020..

According to the motion, the Department of the Treasury still hasn’t determined how to distribute the $8 billion coronavirus relief fund promised to governments. Payments are supposed to start going out on April 24.

But since a determination hasn’t been made, attorneys from the Department of Justice are hinting that the payments to Indian Country will be delayed — until April 28.

In seeking to delay the payments, government attorneys are throwing up a new obstacle. According to the motion, there’s an issue “unrelated to this case” that must be resolved before Indian Country sees any of the $8 billion.

“The delay in payment is occasioned, in part, on issues arising from certain of the funding submissions made to Treasury that are unrelated to this case and that must be resolved before payments can issue,” the motion states.

However, the 11 tribes that are plaintiffs in the case are contesting the delay, according to the motion. They appear to be mindful of a statutory deadline in the CARES Act.

President Donald Trump signed H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on March 27. The law requires the $8 billion tribal fund to be distributed “not later than 30 days after the date of enactment,” according to the text of the measure.

A distribution on April 28 would appear to violate the CARES Act, in the eyes of the tribes.

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