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National Assembly passes extra budget bill

The National Assembly on Friday passed a supplementary budget bill aimed at boosting the sluggish economy.    

After a three-week tug-of-war between the ruling and opposition parties, the parliament gave the nod to the 11.5 trillion won (US$10 billion) extra budget in a 149-23 vote, with 35 blank ballots. 

The bill was reduced from an 11.8 trillion won budget plan initially submitted by the government to the National Assembly for approval on July 6.

Of the total, more than 400 billion won has been set aside to cope with fallout due to MERS, which has had a negative impact on Asia's fourth-largest economy.

South Korea reported no additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome for the 19th day in a row on Friday but the deadly disease still has affected the country's consumer sentiment.

The 400 billion won will also be used to contain the current drought, which could hurt agricultural output and raise consumer prices, and available manpower and equipment will be mobilized to help farmers.

The budget for social overhead capital (SOC) came to 1.25 trillion won, a decrease from the 1.5 trillion won initially demanded by the government.
The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy had failed to see eye to eye on the size of the SOC budget for the past three weeks. (Yonhap)