Navajo President Ben Shelly Meets with Coalition of Large Tribes on Sequester, Infrastructure, and Housing

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office
Cell 202-200-0625

For Immediate Release

Navajo President Ben Shelly Meets with Coalition of Large Tribes on Sequester, Infrastructure, and Housing 

WASHINGTON—Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly met this week with the Coalition of Large Tribes (COLT) on a host of issues including budget, infrastructure, and housing. The purpose of the COLT meeting was to discuss issues with members of Congress and the administration that have a particular impact on COLT members. President Shelly serves as vice chairperson of COLT.

“The Navajo Nation remains gravely concerned about federal budget cuts both through the sequester as well as through systematic underfunding of programs specific to Indian Country,” President Shelly said.

The across-the-board spending cuts, also known as sequester, will go into effect on March 1 and will cut $85 billion in federal spending. Critical services like healthcare, education, and public safety will be affected by sequester. The Navajo Nation is expected to lose as much as $23 million in federal funding.

“Many programs are critical to serving the most vulnerable populations nationwide and arguably the most vulnerable of these populations remains the Native American population,” President Shelly said.

There was a general agreement by COLT members that over regulation and underfunding has led to the lack of infrastructure.

Following day two of presentations, COLT unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Navajo Nation’s position on the reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act  (NAHASDA) of 2008. NAHASDA expires September 30, 2013.

The resolution supports no forumla funding changes outside of negotiated rulemaking. The resolution derails an effort by a small group who sought to take Navajo housing dollars.

President Shelly thanked COLT members for their support of the Navajo Nation’s position and urged Congress to reauthorize NAHASHDA.

COLT is comprised of the following tribal nations: Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Crow Tribe, Navajo Nation, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, Blackfeet Tribe of Montana, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Spokane Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and the Ute Indian Tribe.

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