Mexico Lawmakers Work to Pass 2020 Budget After Missing Deadline

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(Bloomberg) -- Mexican lawmakers are working to pass the spending portion of the government’s 2020 budget proposal as soon as tomorrow after missing the approval deadline last Friday.

The debate and vote were pushed back after the lower house chamber was surrounded by protesting farmers demanding more support for their crops, preventing lawmakers from meeting.

Mario Delgado, the leader of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Morena party in the chamber, said Monday that lawmakers are negotiating with the protesters to meet their budget requests and allow a general session to take place as scheduled tomorrow. He said on Friday that the bill will be approved under the Nov. 6 session that was declared in recess, but not closed, to make it complaint with the constitution’s mandate of passage by Nov. 15.

In an interview with radio host Joaquin Lopez-Doriga on Friday, Delgado said that missing the constitutional deadline won’t have economic consequences, since the budget year doesn’t begin until Jan. 1. The budget deadline was brought forward to Nov. 15 from Dec. 31 in 2004 to make sure that circumstances like this one wouldn’t affect the implementation of the budget, he said.

“I think on Wednesday we’re going to be able to return to the chamber and pass the spending bill,” Delgado said.

The Senate and lower house approved the revenue portion of the budget in October, and Lopez Obrador’s administration has proposed a primary surplus, which excludes debt interest payments, that’s equivalent to 0.7% of gross domestic product, compared with the 1% expected for 2019. That’s the level that the government says is needed to prevent an increase in the nation’s debt relative to gross domestic product.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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