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Navajo Council May Oppose Darn Veto

Navajo Council May Oppose Darn Veto
November 17
08:39 2015

Darn Veto.

president begaye

President Begaye

While it sounds like a character from “The Godfather,” it’s more likely what the Navajo Nation Council is thinking after President Russell Begaye used his veto pen to nix a bill that would strip him of his veto power.

Now the council must decide if it has the votes needed to override the veto.

It started when council passed legislation to limit the president’s line-item veto power to specific dollar amounts.

It was an offer the president could refuse.

In a November 12 memo to council, Begaye said he vetoed the legislation because it was in direct opposition to the initiative passed by Navajo voters.

The line-item veto law was passed in 2009 to reduce wasteful government spending, Begaye said.

“As such, it must include all aspects of the budget and not just the immediate appropriations,” Begaye wrote. The president must also be able to veto council appropriations that require future spending, he added.

Delegate Alton Shepherd said that council had approved its line-item legislation by a 22-0 vote. That would give council more than enough votes to override Begaye’s veto, Shepherd said.

It takes a “supermajority” of delegates to override a presidential veto. With the current 24-member council, that would require 16 “yes” votes.

However, Navajo law also prohibits council from overriding a president’s line-item veto.

Shepherd insisted the council is not taking away the president’s power to issue line-item vetoes – only restricting it to specific numerical amounts.

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