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Tug-of-war between rival parties stalls processing of 2014 govt. budget

Updated: 2013-12-30 PM 4:28:14 (KST)
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The floor leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties met behind closed doors Monday in an attempt to process a series of key bills.

"Monday was the day that the leaders of the rival parties had agreed to pass the 2014 budget bill and a bill on reforming the scandal-ridden National Intelligence Service.
However, they spent much of the day fighting over what the scope of the NIS reforms should be, stalling the processing of next year's budget.

The biggest sticking point has to do with the addition of a clause in the bill on reforming the National Intelligence Service which bans NIS agents from having full access to government offices and media outlets.
The main opposition Democratic Party is asking that the ban be put into law to prohibit illegal information-gathering activities.
The ruling Saenuri Party is opposed to the idea, saying the ban will limit the ability of agents to gather intelligence.
As the tug-of-war continues between the rival parties, concerns are rising that the National Assembly may have to draw up an unprecedented provisional budget.
However, there is still a chance that the rival parties will reach a breakthrough and manage to put next year's budget bill and the NIS reform bill up for a plenary vote on Monday, before the clock strikes midnight.
The ruling party has urged its lawmakers to be on standby at parliament until midnight.
The 340-billion-U.S. dollar budget plan for 2014, drawn up by the government in September, has been collecting dust in the legislature for months as the rival parties have been at odds over allegations that the spy agency tried to sway public opinion in favor of now President Park Geun-hye ahead of last year's presidential election.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.

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