SEOUL, The National Assembly will speed up its review of a 3.9 trillion won (US$3.6 billion) extra budget proposal Thursday as lawmakers seek to pass key bills the following day, party officials said.
Ending a some 40-day parliamentary stalemate, ruling and opposition parties earlier agreed to vote on bills on the supplementary budget aimed at boosting job growth and a special counsel probe into an online rigging scandal on Friday.
In March, the government proposed the extra budget largely to create new jobs for young people amid a sluggish job market.
The number of newly added jobs stayed slightly above the 100,000 mark for the third straight month in April, the worst record since the 2008 global financial crisis, according to government data.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon urged parliament Tuesday to approve the supplementary budget, calling it an "emergency budget" to address bleak job situations for young people.
But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) seeks to cut it by some 1.5 trillion won, claiming that the proposal contains spending that does not appear to be linked to job creation.
If approved on Friday, the proposed extra budget will be the second of its kind under the incumbent liberal administration. Last year, the National Assembly approved an 11 trillion won supplementary budget.
"More than 9,600 bills are pending with just 15 days ahead of the end of parliamentary sessions in May," Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), said.
"A plenary session aimed at passing the bills on the budget and special probe has only 36 hours left," he said. "The extra budget bill should be approved Friday. I believe that it will be."
Rival parties are also bickering over the scope of the independent counsel investigation into the online comment manipulation scandal that is allegedly linked to a former ruling party lawmaker.
The scandal has become a sensitive political issue following revelations that Kim Kyoung-soo, a former DP lawmaker who has close ties with President Moon Jae-in, knew and communicated with a power blogger, nicknamed Druking, at the center of the online rigging case.
Partisan wrangling has deepened after a minor opposition party demanded a special investigation be expanded to President Moon Jae-in and the ruling party, citing Druking's suspected online comment rigging linked to last year's presidential election.
Source: Yonhap News Agency