The National Assembly has approved the government's fourth extra budget of 2020, aimed at providing COVID-19 relief before the country's Chuseok thanksgiving holiday starts next week.
Worth some 6.7 billion U.S. dollars, the budget plan was passed Tuesday after the ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition People Power Party reached a last minute agreement, with both sides making concessions.
"We thank the People Power Party for making efforts to swiftly pass the plan. The government will execute the projects immediately so that people can receive the assistance before Chuseok."
The eight.scheme includes, a hotly-debated plan to hand out mobile phone bill subsidies as was suggested by the ruling DP.
But the scope has been reduced from the previous "everyone over 13 years old",.. a compromise the party made for the opposition.
The money left over from that change,… will partially be funneled toward providing free flu vaccines for some disabled people and those on low incomes, largely reflecting the opposition party's request.
It will also be assigned to stocking up on COVID-19 vaccines for roughly 20 percent of the country's population.
And child care support has been expanded to include middle schoolers.
Late night entertainment businesses that have been hit hard by the strengthened distancing measure will get double the assistance other small merchants get.
Taxi drivers, medical staff, and children from families in low-income brackets will also receive assistance.
The latest budget marks the first time in 59 years that there has been a fourth extra budget within a twelve month period.
It also set a record for being the fastest budget to be passed, taking just 11 days.
It was also the first time that lawmakers have agreed on a bill and passed it on the same day.
Both parties say this swift process was possible because of bipartisan cooperation, with lawmakers putting people’s lives before politics.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.