March 06,2021

Press Contact:

Nicole L'Esperance (202) 224-4515

Wyden Secures New County and Tribal Payment Program in COVID Relief Package

Program will provide $1 billion per year to help counties and tribes hard hit by the economic downturn

Washington, D.C. – As part of the Senate-passed COVID-19 relief package, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., established a new program to help rural counties with large tracts of federal lands and Tribes hard hit by the economic downturn.  

The new $1 billion-per-year payments program will give these counties and Tribes a boost to continue providing essential services to their communities, which is especially critical with the current expiration of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Wyden will work with Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, as well as the counties and Tribes to set up the new Wyden program to make payments based on economic conditions in each county and Tribe.

“These particular rural counties and Tribes were delivered a devastating blow when COVID-19 hit their communities. They are barely hanging on when it comes to resources for their schools, roads, and health services,” Wyden said. “Funding for these communities is urgently needed, and this new program will ease some of the burden and set us on a path to find long-term permanent funding solutions.”

More details on the provision can be found in Wyden's statement for the congressional record on the new program. A PDF of the statement is available here.