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Govn’t, ruling party at odds with each other for disaster relief fund

Govn’t, ruling party at odds with each other for disaster relief fund

Posted July. 09, 2021 08:31,   

Updated July. 09, 2021 08:31


South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum did not take any step backward from the government’s plan to give out disaster relief funds to the bottom 80 percent, saying that it is time to share more with those who have seen their life and livelihoods suffer more severely. In response, the ruling Democratic Party of Korea argued the idea of expanding the grant program to more than the bottom 90 percent. Such discord between the government and the ruling party is expected to last for the time being.

Prime Minister Kim said in an administrative policy address regarding the second supplementary budget plan at the National Assembly on Thursday, “I wish that we could make a decision that satisfies all of us. However, we should consider realistic limitations because we only have a limited range of tools at our disposal with low affordability.” With the controversy over the grant plan for the bottom 80 percent seemingly in mind, he said sorry, adding that some citizens may not qualify for the benefits due to a slight difference in income.

After the ruling party on Wednesday held a policy member assembly to discuss a possibility of giving out subsidies to every single citizen, it focused on the next day on its leading role in deliberating supplementary budget plans. Democratic Party’s floor leader Yun Ho-jung said in a meeting on the party’s floor strategies, “It is not that a budget plan set up by the Ministry of Economy and Finance gains agreement of party leadership and its members automatically follow the decision. What matters in democracy and parliamentarism is how we discuss issues and have careful deliberation.”

“There is a general consensus that we should minimize complaints about who qualifies and who doesn’t at a time when we spend a large budget on a supplementary fiscal plan,” said an insider f the ruling party. “We expect that any adjustment will be made to the grant provision method of the cash-back rewards for credit card expenditure because of a limited range of available stores and shops and complexity in usage.”

Hye-Ryung Choi herstory@donga.com