Expenditure budget passes

The budget commission of the Chamber of Deputies unanimously passed the 2010 expenditure budget at 4:30 am, after failing to meet the midnight legal deadline. PRI coordinator Francisco Rojas postponed four times the meeting of the full Chamber of Deputies, as factions within the party negotiated the reallocation of funds between the states and to different programs. The full Chamber is expected to vote on the package today. The final compromise was reflected in a basket of Ps. 96.6 billion of resources to be reallocated, an increase from the original proposal of Ps. 85 billion. Total expenditures were pegged at Ps. 3,176 billion – only marginally higher than the proposed budget sent by the Government.  One of the items that emerged from the congressional negotiations was the requirement that the Ministry of Finance present to congress an austerity plan by March 15 for longer-term improvements in the use of public resources. PRI deputy Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada explained, “We can’t ask the citizen to tighten his belt and not demand that the … executive, judicial, and legislative authorities do the same.”

The Templo Mayor column observed: “Almost everyone is content with the slicing up of the budget pie. The priistas are congratulating themselves because they … tied the hands of the federal government and got millions and millions as a gift for their governors. The panistas are also jubiliant; despite the dark warnings, at they end of the day they salvaged the resources for the three [social] programs dear to Felipe Calderón: the leafless Proarból, the coveted Oportunidades, and the supercharged Seguro Popular. (Excelsior 11/16, Universal 11/16, Reforma 11/16)

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