Navajo CARES Act Fund Update

Today, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, is day 63 in which the Navajo Nation has been in possession of $600 million to spend on the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Navajo Nation received as additional $114 million bringing the total US CARES Act funds to the Navajo Nation to $714 million. 

The US CARES Act has a deadline of Wednesday Dec. 30, 2020 for tribes to spend the money, including the Navajo Nation. Extending this deadline is in discussion but may not be a reality.  This means the Navajo Nation over the next 176 days must spend $4.1 million per day to spend the entire amount.

On Saturday, July 4, 2020 President Jonathan Nez “line-item” vetoed CJN-47-20 – his favored bill with more amendments than he desired.  This is the President’s second “line item” veto.

On May 30, 2020, he line-item vetoed May 30, 2020 CMY-44-20, the Navajo Nation CARES Act. By law, “line item” veto exercised by the President cannot be overridden by the Navajo Nation Council. So in effect, those line items not vetoed are Navajo Nation law.  Based on what has transpired to date, $52 million has been approved for immediate pandemic expenditures. There is no, however, Expenditure Plans consensus to expend the balance of the CARES Act funds.