Lacson says ‘pork’ delaying 2019 budget approval
It’s all because of “pork.”
This was how Senator Panfilo Lacson explained the delay of the transmittal of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) from the House of Representatives to the Senate.
The House has already approved the GAB on its second reading but it has yet to be passed on the third and final reading before it can be transmitted to the Senate.
“The delay is caused by unfinished individual insertions in the 2019 House version of general appropriations bill,” Lacson said in a text message on Monday.
The information that he got, he said, was that the House would not be ready to transmit the GAB to the Senate earlier than November 29.
“By then, we will have five session days left before Congress adjourns on December 12; 7 (session days), if we include two Thursdays in our calendar,” Lacson pointed out .
Besides, the senator explained that once the House approves the budget on the third and final reading, it would still take about 10 days to print the bill before it is transmitted to the Senate.
“We are not superheroes in the Senate to finish scrutinizing the House version of the budget bill, including all the study and research prior to plenary debates, amendments etc, even ratification of the bicam report,” he said.
“And I dare say, it’s all the fault of the Lower House that their insertions aka pork barrel allocations, which is obviously the main reason for the delay will not be implemented if the national government operates under a re-enacted budget. It serves them right,” Lacson added.
Lacson also pointed out that if the GAB has already been approved on second reading, the House could not make any amendments anymore.
“The only logical explanation is – they are willing to defy the rules just to make way for their pork,” he further said. /je
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