People Power Party Rep. Lee Jeong-bae (Photo: Yonhap News)
The main opposition People Power Party has said it will push to include funds for a third round of coronavirus emergency handouts in next year's state budget.
Lawmaker Lee Jong-bae, head of the PPP's policy committee, said in a party meeting Tuesday that they will seek to provide emergency funds worth some 3.6 trillion won "to places in need at the right time."
He said it would help out small businesses and sectors hit hard by the latest resurgence of COVID-19, including taxi companies, indoor gyms and private learning institutes.
Specifically, the PPP said it will seek to distribute 200,000 won as emergency funds to all households with children as old as high school students, and aim to secure funds worth 1 trillion won to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for the public.
Lee also argued for "drastic cuts" in what he called "wasteful, pork-barrel programs" under the government's New Deal initiative.
The Moon Jae-in administration has drawn up a 555.8 trillion-won budget bill for next year.
The ruling Democratic Party wants to pass the proposed state budget without further adjustments by the December 8 parliamentary deadline.
Lawmaker Kim Young-jin said the DP also believes in the idea of helping citizens cope with the current economic crisis through emergency handouts, however he pointed out that reaching a decision within a week and including it in the budget is "realistically difficult."
Kim said, however, it wouldn't be difficult to pass the budget by December 2 and negotiate the handouts afterwards.
A Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters that it's still too early to say whether additional relief handouts are urgently necessary, asking them to "wait and see" the effects of the stricter Level 2 social distancing measures implemented this week.
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