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Senate to shorten break for budget, CREATE

Hananeel Bordey



The Senate will cut their four-week congressional break short to give more time for the deliberations of the 2021 national budget bill and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) bill.

In an online interview with Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the Committee on Rules — the panel in charge of the legislative calendar, he said the lawmakers are 90 percent sure that they will resume on 9 November instead of 16 November.

“We have plans to open session early. We might open on 9 November rather than 16 November. We want to start work early to pass the budget bill sooner than later,” he said.

Both Houses of Congress are scheduled to take their congressional break starting 17 October.

To comply with the Constitution, Zubiri said the Senate has to inform the House of Representatives of their plan to convene one week early than the scheduled resumption of sessions.

“We will inform the House of Representatives that we will start our sessions early. If they agree, we will suspend today until 9 November,” he said.

Zubiri added that it is possible to start the plenary deliberations upon their resumption as Senate Finance Committee chairperson Sonny Angara wanted to avoid “cramming” in the General Appropriations Bill deliberations.

The Senate Finance Subcommittees will hold budget briefings during the break, Zubiri said.

Aside from the budget measure, Zubiri said they will resume sessions early due to the detailed deliberation of the CREATE bill — another measure certified as urgent by Malacañang.

The senators are currently introducing page-by-page amendments to the tax measure.

An hour is being consumed for each page of the bill, Zubiri noted as they spent five hours on Wednesday afternoon for the first sections of the 57-page bill.

“We’ll try our best to finish it tonight but the way it went last night…we might take it up on 9 November,” he added.

CREATE bill seeks to cut the Corporate Income Tax from the current 30 percent to 25 percent. This will allow businesses and enterprises to revive their anticipated losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.