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(2nd LD) Ruling party set to railroad 607.9 tln won gov't budget

17:16 December 02, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with latest details in paras 1-5; EDITS to conform; CHANGES headline)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) was set to railroad the government's 2022 budget through the National Assembly on Thursday after failing to reach a compromise with the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) on the Navy's light aircraft carrier project.

The floor leaders of the two parties met earlier to finalize negotiations over the 607.9 trillion won (US$517.4 billion) budget proposal, which is an increase of 3.5 trillion won from the government proposal.

"We ultimately weren't able to reach an agreement on all items," DP floor leader Rep. Yun Ho-jung told reporters after the meeting.

"But there was no difference of opinion between the parties on passing next year's budget before today's legal deadline," he said.

The National Assembly has scheduled a plenary session for 8 p.m. to handle the bill.

Democratic Party floor leader Rep. Yun Ho-jung speaks during a party policy coordination meeting at the National Assembly compound in Seoul on Dec. 2, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

The rival parties reached a tentative agreement Wednesday to adjust the government's budget proposal to increase grants for local governments and compensation for small businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic while reducing the issuance of government bonds, among other things.

But the negotiations hit a snag after the PPP rejected DP demands to increase the defense ministry's budget for a light aircraft carrier project.

The parliamentary defense committee previously slashed the budget from 7.2 billion won to 500 million won after the PPP questioned the project's feasibility and necessity.

Next year's budget will include 68 trillion won worth of support measures for small businesses, Yun said earlier at a party policy coordination meeting.

Compensation for business losses was raised from a minimum 100,000 won to 500,000 won, and the total value of local currency coupons to be issued next year was raised from 6 trillion won to 30 trillion won, he said.

The budget for antivirus health care was also increased by around 1.3 trillion won to more than 7 trillion won.

This undated file photo shows a meeting of the National Assembly. (Yonhap)


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