OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee Nation Facebook page has made an official announcement regarding the 2022 Direct Assistance program.
The application for the second disbursement of ARPA funds will become available on the Camphouse Portal Dec. 20 at 11 a.m.
This application is different from the first and requires each citizen to apply.
Applications will be processed by roll number and not by order of when the application was received.
According to information provided by the Muscogee Nation, citizens will be required to verify their address and household members again for this application.
It also states there will be options to receive payment directly to either NetSpend card, direct deposit or check.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council passed NCA 21-150 which authorized the expenditure of American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide a second disbursement of COVID-19 Impact Relief Individual Assistance during a Nov. 30 Emergency Session.
The law expended $192,092,309 providing another $2,000 payment to each citizen.
Tulsa District Representative Lucian Tiger III sponsored the legislation.
“My reasoning for introducing this legislation was we have increase cost in groceries and rent,” Tiger said.
He claimed rent has increased by 16.4% from January to October this year and fuel has doubled over the course of the year.
According to Tiger, the majority of the MCN citizens, an estimated 84%, are considered low-to-moderate income.
He referenced a Washington Post article and claimed those who have not experienced a 6.2% increase in salary this year are being affected by inflation.
“We may never have an opportunity like this to give our citizens financial assistance,” Tiger said.
Reps. Travis Scott and Thomasene Yahola-Osborn voted against the legislation.
Rep. Yahola-Osborn claimed she is not against helping the citizens but it was not the original legislation that the two branches of government had been working on together since Nov. 19.
According to Yahola-Osborn it was just five days before the Emergency Session that the sponsor proposed NCA 21-150.
“I knew without a doubt it would pass,” Yahola-Osborn said.
She does claim it gave her feelings of uneasiness to vote “yes” when the two branches had already been working together on an original legislation.
Yahola-Osborn said she was thinking ahead for the tribe with concerns of a future audit that could potentially result in paying back the funds.
Secretary of the Nation and Commerce Terra Branson-Thomas stated in the session that there is a process to be done before determining if funds could be allocated again.
According to Branson-Thomas, if funds are distributed without following U.S. Treasury guidelines it could result in what Yahola-Osborn fears.
Rep. Scott has not yet made a comment regarding his vote as of publication.
This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.