During the Ft. Defiance Veterans Agency Council meeting, President Russell Begaye addressed the rumor that he denied an increase to veteran’s financial assistance funds. The president said his intent has always been to offer a proposal that will bring an immediate increase.
Published April 16, 2018
FT. DEFIANCE – President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez have been updating Navajo Veterans Agency Councils to address fixing the Veteran’s Trust Fund Income Act to assure that funds can be distributed to Navajo veterans agencies.
“I’ve met with the Veterans Advisory Council to explain why the Veteran’s Trust Fund Income Act doesn’t allow for funds to be allocated until Oct. 1,” President Begaye said. “I’ve met with the controller and Navajo Department of Justice to discuss options to get proper funding to our veterans as soon as possible. However, to do this, legislation has to be introduced during the 2018 Spring Council Session.”
Because of how the Veteran’s Trust Fund Act was written, a two percent set aside has already been put toward the principal of the Fund. Accessing funds from the principal will require a two-thirds affirmative referendum vote of all registered Navajo voters.
The president and vice president have remained diligent in finding a solution for Navajo veterans to see an immediate increase of funds for financial assistance.
After addressing the Ft. Defiance Veterans Agency on Thursday, Apr. 12, the Office of the President and Vice President (OPVP) met with members of the Veterans Advisory Council to propose a solution.
OPVP has proposed a $1.5 million dollar allocation from the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance (UUFB) to fund Navajo veterans agencies. This allocation provides for an immediate increase in financial assistance to veterans.
Vice President Jonathan Nez said OPVP has remained diligent in finding a solution to increase funds for financial assistance to Navajo veterans.
“Many chapter veterans organizations have justifiably depleted their budgets. They can no longer offer their veterans support for basic needs like food, fuel and energy assistance. Emergency legislation needs to be introduced and considered on the floor of the 2018 Spring Council Session,” President Begaye said. “We are asking that Council work with OPVP so that we can get these funds to our Navajo veterans.”
After OPVP consulted with members of the Veterans Advisory Council, they agreed to seek an emergency legislation for the $1.5 million from the UUFB. As such, President Begaye and Vice President Nez are urging the 23rd Navajo Nation Council to support this legislation, which aims to fund immediate and direct services for all Navajo veterans.