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WASHINGTON – American Indians stand to gain almost $3,000,000,000 as part of the economic stimulus moving through Congress, money that could help some of the nation’s poorest communities rebuild roads, improve health care and boost employment that has lagged behind the rest of the country for decades.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday included $2,800,000,000 for Indian tribes in its portion of the nearly $900,000,000,000 economic stimulus bill, and a House version to be voted on Wednesday includes a similar amount. That includes hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, health clinics, roads, law enforcement and water projects.
Dante Desiderio, an economic development policy specialist at the National Congress of American Indians, which has lobbied for the money for the past year, calls the bill a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for tribes.