Rival Political Parties Continue Wrangling Over Expanding COVID-19 Relief
3 months ago
Anchor: The ruling and main opposition parties' argument over expanding the government's coronavirus relief payments rumbled on, with the ruling side accusing the rival party of purposely delaying the budget review process. The main opposition said the ruling party was the one to blame, demanding a revised version of the bill. Choi You Sun reports.

Report: South Korea's ruling Democratic Party(DP) ramped up pressure on the main opposition United Future Party(UFP) to review the government's extra budget bill to finance its coronavirus relief payments.

DP floor leader Lee In-young on Friday urged the UFP to release its block on the budget review, expressing regret over the main opposition walking away from the two sides' agreement to proceed with handling the bill after the DP and the government drew up a revised plan.

Lee went further to accuse the UFP of intentionally delaying the relief payments in retaliation for its defeat in the April 15 general elections.

On Wednesday, the DP and the government narrowed their differences over whether to give aid to households with a gross income at or below 70 percent of the total as initially suggested by the government, or to all of them, including those in the high-income bracket.

The ruling side also plans to encourage those in the high-income bracket to donate the payments, in return for tax credits. It is pushing to pass the budget bill within the month to make the payments by early May.

The UFP, for its part, blamed the ruling side for the delay, saying the government should submit a revised bill to include issuance of government bonds as a means to generate financing, which the ruling side plans to do to cover the increased payments.

At a press conference, UFP policy chief and parliamentary budget committee chair Kim Jae-won accused the DP of attempting to deplete state coffers, in reference to the DP and the government's differences over including high-income earners.

If the rival parties fail to reach a deal by the end of the current extraordinary session on May 15, the presidential office is reportedly considering enforcing an executive order. 

A presidential spokesperson on Friday implored lawmakers to pass the supplementary budget, saying it is making preparations to begin handing out cash from May 13.

Meanwhile, the DP continued to apologize for sexual harassment allegations against Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don, who stepped down the previous day.

The UFP, on the other hand, accused the DP of intentionally putting off publicizing the allegations surrounding the DP-affiliated former mayor until after the general elections.

Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.
 
Theo: world.kbs.co.kr