House leader assures marathon budget debates

The House of Representatives will hold marathon sessions, both in the plenary and committee level, to ensure the passage of the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 before the year ends, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said Wednesday.

READ: Palace urges House to speed up budget okay

“The House members are in full agreement that we all have to work day and night, from Monday to Friday, to make sure that we approve the 2020 General Appropriations Act by October this year,” Romualdez said.

“This will give the Senate ample time to scrutinize the budget approved by the House. Hopefully, we can have a bicameral conference early December, then approve the 2020 national budget before the year ends,” he added.

Romualdez said the House will move its plenary session from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every day to make room for four committee hearings scheduled by the House committee on appropriations for budget deliberations.

“We will hold four budget hearings daily at the committee level almost simultaneously. The hearings are scheduled at 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 1:30 p.m.,” the House leader said.

“House members may have to shuttle between hearings in order to maximize their participation in the budget deliberations. I am thankful that all the House members agreed to this schedule, which is really a tall order,” he added.

Romualdez noted that House leaders also decided to extend the session days in the House past the regular Monday to Wednesday schedule to allow exhaustive deliberation of the budget at the plenary level.

“We are also extending our session days beginning Sept. 12. We will hold plenary sessions even on Thursdays and Fridays to make sure that the national budget will get the House members’ nod on time,” the House leader said.

Romualdez said he had also approved the request of House committee on appropriations chairman and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab to allow the holding of committee hearings on the budget even after the plenary proceedings have started at 5 p.m.

“This means that the appropriations committee may hold budget hearings at the committee level simultaneous with the plenary debates on other pending bills and resolutions,” Romualdez said.

“This will ensure that plenary deliberations on other pending issues, such as the vital revenue measures, will push through even as we are working round the clock on the budget bill,” he added.

Under Section 71 of the House Rules, congressmen are deemed present in a House session if they are attending committee meetings authorized by the House committee on rules, which is currently chaired by Romualdez as majority leader.

READ: P4-trillion budget up for House debate

Topics: House of Representatives , Martin Romualdez , 2020 General Appropriations Act
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