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Final Agreement on Budget Still Elusive for Lawmakers

Dec 26,2000
Ruling and opposition parties failed to finalize the budget's size at a subcommittee meeting of the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts on Monday, with the ruling Millennium Democratic Party demanding a cut in spending on relief measures while the opposition Grand National Party asked instead that political spending be reduced.

Both sides were expected to pass the 100.23 trillion won ($81 billion) budget bill on Tuesday, but negotiations faced difficulties. Both parties also gave conflicting views on when the final agreement will come.

"We will submit our final budget size on Tuesday to the National Assembly," said Rep. Chung Kyun-hwan of the Millennium Democratic Party.

"If the main party goes ahead with it alone, we will prevent them," Rep. Chung Chang-wha of the Grand National Party said.

On Sunday, after weeks of wrangling over the amount of the reduction, the two parties agreed to cut 800 billion won from the originally requested budget of 101. 3 trillion won.

This budget cut was the largest since 1993. One of the biggest fights was over the North-South exchange and cooperation fund. Both sides finally agreed to 350 billion won.

In the six-point agreement, the two sides agreed to increase spending on infrastrucure and also agreed that they will concentrate on measures aimed at reducing debts in the farming and fishing sectors.

by Lee Soo-ho




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