Navajo leader strips $5.6M in first line-item veto

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) July 2010

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. has stripped $5.6 million from a bill passed by the Tribal Council in the first exercise of his line-item veto authority.

Navajos voted in December to give the tribal president that authority. The tribe’s high court recently affirmed the election after a number of challenges.

Among the appropriations Shirley struck from the bill last week were $500,000 in discretionary funding for council speaker’s office, $3 million for a public employment program and $150,000 for a post office.

The measure sought to tap a tribal fund reserved for liabilities and claims owed by the tribe.

Shirley approved spending for a youth employment program from the same fund even though he says the money in the fund already is spoken for.