Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico)
Posted: May 29, 2020

For Immediate Release

May 28, 2020

Luján Calls Out Dangerous Trump Administration Contract That Defrauded Navajo Nation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) spoke on the House floor condemning the $3 million contract that the Trump administration awarded to a former Trump White House staffer who delivered substandard personal protective equipment to Indian Health Service hospitals serving the Navajo Nation.

Luján and the New Mexico delegation wrote to the Trump administration this week demanding answers on why this contract was awarded to a former Trump White House staffer who lacked federal contracting and health care experience.   

Video of Luján’s full speech is available here.

Luján’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are included below:

Mr. Speaker,

Since the beginning of this crisis, I’ve heard from Tribal leaders about the human tragedy of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation: whole families ravaged by the disease, doctors overwhelmed by the surge in cases, and insufficient federal help.

These leaders are sounding the alarm for a community in crisis.

I’ve been working to ensure that the medical professionals who serve the Navajo Nation have every tool at their disposal to treat patients and protect themselves.

But instead of doing right by Navajo Nation, this administration, ProPublica found, awarded a $3 million-dollar contract for personal protective equipment to an 11-day-old company headed by a former Trump White House staffer.

As a result, the IHS received hundreds of thousands of masks that may be unsuitable for medical use.

This lack of leadership endangers lives.

That’s why I’m working with the New Mexico delegation and our colleagues from Arizona to hold the Trump administration accountable.

The Navajo Nation deserves the full support of the federal government during this crisis and not to have this administration turn a blind eye while the Nation loses one more parent, grandparent, son, or daughter.

This administration must act as an honest partner to the Navajo people. And I’ll fight to ensure that happens.

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