The House of Representatives has criticized members of the Senate for rejecting its proposal for the allotment of US$73 million annually in the National Budget as District Development Funds.

According to the Liberia News Agency, the Senate rejected the proposal on May 15, 2014 on grounds that it was “unconstitutional” to allocate funds per electoral districts rather than administrative districts.

Capitol Building: Home of the National Legislature
Capitol Building: Home of the National Legislature

Senators further argued that their decision is more in the interest of disenfranchised administrative regions to help boost their local economic development and to ensure the well-being of the people.

However, during discussions on a letter from the Senate in Plenary Thursday, several members of the House, including Maryland County Representative James Barney, termed the Senate’s decision as “stereotype and immaterial”, noting that the House has the constitutional power to set up a budget with which the Senate may or may not concur.

 

Senate Pro Temp Gbehzohngar Findley
Senate Pro Temp Gbehzohngar Findley
House Speaker Alex Tyler
House Speaker Alex Tyler

Speaking on the floor, Barney interpreted the “may” as meaning that the concurrence of the Senate is not necessary, but only a desire out of courtesy.


Other lawmakers including Edwin Snowe of Montserrado County and Eugene Fallah Kparkar of Lofa County, likened the situation to confirmation, where the Senate does not need any input from the House to reject or accept a presidential nominee.

In a Plenary in which every member present spoke, there was no contrary view that called for acceptance or concurrence of the Senate’s letter.

In recent times, the House and Senate have publicly expressed divergent opinions on a number of issues, including the decent work bill and the amount for registration fees for political candidates at the National Elections Commission.

Meanwhile, the House has stated that it would identify necessary revenue sources and place the US$73 million in the core budget, reminding other branches and offices of government that the law provides that all revenue issues should originate from the House. By Winnie T. Dixon/LINA

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