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Navajo president approves budget after line-item vetoes

FARMINGTON, N.M. — Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye has signed a $651.4 million budget for the tribe, but not before vetoing 17 items.

Begaye signed the comprehensive budget for 2017 on Tuesday after eliminating about $8.3 million in appropriations through line-item vetoes.

Both Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez said that before the Council decided on the budget, the executive branch spent more than nine months developing budgets to account for a potential $20 million budget deficit that was stopped this year by the permanent trust fund interest.

The Navajo Nation Council is not pleased with the vetoes, however. In a news release issued Wednesday, the council said Begaye’s cuts denied funding for several critical programs, such as $1.4 million for the Navajo Area Agency on Aging.