Navajo Nation lawmakers struggle to pass $1 billion spending bill

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Saturday, April 9, 2022 - 10:40am

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Navajo Nation
Katherine Davis-Young/KJZZ
A sign welcomes travelers to the Navajo Nation on July 13, 2021.

Disagreements between the Navajo Nation president and Legislative Council have led to the failure of a proposed American Rescue Plan Act spending bill, meaning $1 billion remains unspent after months of negotiation.

Fifteen of 24 delegates voted in favor of an amended bill that would have divided the funds evenly between each delegate region, one short of the amount required to pass the legislation.

The remaining delegates wanted to stick with the original bill, drafted by President Jonathan Nez, which would have given varying amounts to each region, and left decisions on how to use most of the money with the executive branch.

One delegate told the Navajo Times that some were not consulted during the original bill’s budget development, which in part spurred the draft that would have equally distributed the funding.

A group of delegates is working to present a new bill by the end of April in order to begin spending the funds on improvements around the Nation as soon as possible.

Politics Native American Affairs