Supplementary budget still stuck in Assembly

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Supplementary budget still stuck in Assembly

The ruling party, government and presidential officials called for a swift return to business at the National Assembly on Monday, stressing that a bill mandating extra fiscal spending should be passed no later than July.

The National Assembly has been idle for about two months as rival parties bicker over a set of political issues, suspending the opening of an extra parliamentary session in June.

A delay in the normalization of the National Assembly’s operation has jeopardized a 6.7 trillion won ($5.7 billion) supplementary budget bill and other proposals designed to help improve people’s livelihoods.

The ruling party, government and presidential officials jointly denounced the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) for not cooperating in putting parliament back on track during a trilateral meeting held at the Assembly.

They said partisan negotiations should kick off early this week to enable the government to carry out the supplementary spending no later than in July. The government drew up a supplementary budget in April to cope with fine dust air pollution and prop up the slowing economy in the face of growing downside risks.

Of the 6.7 trillion won, 2.2 trillion won was set aside for fine dust and safety controls, with the remainder allocated to boost the economy.

“Trade tension between the United States and China appears to be serious. External economic conditions seem to be worsening,” Kim Soo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for policy, said.

The ruling Democratic Party is considering opening an extra session by itself after reviewing the progress for negotiations with rival parties by Monday. But it also remains cautious about its potential unilateral move as it will likely have little to gain and the LKP could unleash political criticism of the move. The conservative LKP, meanwhile, claimed the extra budget is a politically motivated maneuver to win votes in next year’s general elections.

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