San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lawmakers reach tentative deal on budget talks

After two days of intense negotiation, lawmakers from the National Liberation Party on Wednesday reached an agreement with members of the opposition block in Congress on a national budget for 2012.

The deal would shave up to ₡30 billion ($60 million) off of the original budget proposed by President Laura Chinchilla and her Cabinet. According to Legislative Assembly President Juan Carlos Mendoza, opposition lawmakers did not budge on Liberation requests to negotiate a bigger budget.

Throughout the day on Wednesday, Mendoza met with various officials including Supreme Court President Luis Paulino Mora, Supreme Elections Tribunal President Luis Antonio Sobrado and Presidency Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides. Mora and Sobrado agreed to a reduced budget for their respective tribunals of ₡1.1 billion ($2 million) and ₡750 million ($1.5 million), respectively. The Legislative Assembly’s budget also will be cut by ₡1.1 billion. Benavides would not say how much the executive branch’s budget would be shaved.

For three days this week, Liberation lawmakers opposed to more budget cuts boycotted the assembly, essentially paralyzing the legislative process at the start of Monday’s session. 

The deadline for budget modifications is 3 p.m. on Thursday. Lawmakers could vote to extend talks over the weekend. If they fail to reach an agreement by midnight on Sunday, the 2011 budget will be approved for 2012. 

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