19 Aug 2010

CNMI's House of Representatives passes 2011 budget

11:42 am on 19 August 2010

A 132-million US dollar budget bill for the fiscal year 2011 has finally passed the House of Representatives.

The Saipan Tribune reports yesterday's dramatic session was marked by frayed tempers and shouting matches that eventually boiled down to who had the most number of votes.

The new spending plan, which allows employee termination and work hour cuts, passed on a 12-7 vote largely along political lines, with the ruling Covenant Party trumping efforts by minority Republicans to amend the bill.

Among the contentious provisions of the bill is an increase in each lawmaker's annual discretionary fund-from the current over 86-thousand US dollars to 130-thousand US, even though most government employees will be subjected to unpaid holidays and up to 16-hour work cuts per pay period.