President Moon Jae-in on Friday asked the parliament to support the bill to determine next year’s budget, during a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae with the National Assembly’s leaders and the chairs of its standing committees.
The meeting was arranged to congratulate the new deputy speaker and seven committee chairs, who are all from the main opposition People Power Party.
“With it, the government is looking for a full recovery and a leap forward. I hope the National Assembly sees it the same way,” Moon said, referring to the COVID-19-hit economy and the 604 trillion won ($521.97 billion) budget proposal -- the biggest ever submitted to the parliament.
The parliament should consider the fact that the budget will directly affect the next president and the next administration in May next year after the presidential election, Moon added, highlighting the need for the two rival parties to cooperate to work out their differences.
The budget bill has prompted concerns about the country’s fiscal soundness.
Moon said his government would do everything until the last minute to look after those affected most by the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, newly elected Deputy Speaker Chung Jin-suk of the People Power Party suggested making changes to the current COVID-19 response, saying the aggressive social distancing rules and curfews hurt small-business owners.
Chung also spoke against the contentious “fake news” bill that critics say could prevent reporters from shedding light on shady dealings by the powerful, who could then use lawsuits to retaliate if the bill passed.
Amid fierce opposition to the bill, the ruling Democratic Party agreed to discuss changes with the People Power Party. The International Federation of Journalists said the bill was overreaching and threatened press freedom.
“Bills facing an impasse should be left to the next government to decide,” Chung said, essentially asking Moon to encourage his party to reconsider the fake news bill.
By Choi Si-young (email@example.com