December 24, 2018 / 3:04 PM / a month ago

Mexican Congress completes approval of 2019 budget

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s lower house of Congress completed approval of the 2019 budget early on Monday morning, signing off on the spending part of the package barely a week after the plan was first presented.

The 5.8 trillion peso ($291.5 billion) budget stuck close to new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s campaign promises to increase social spending while forcing many better-paid public servants to accept pay cuts.

The plan approved was almost 24 billion pesos higher than the budget presented on Dec. 15, after the leftist Lopez Obrador said last week he wanted to find more money for universities.

The 2019 budget is projected to run a 1 percent surplus once payments on existing debt are excluded.

The revenue section of the budget package received final approval from lawmakers late last week.

Passage of the budget was never expected to pose problems as the president’s National Regeneration Movement and its allies command comfortable majorities in both houses of Congress.

($1 = 19.8975 Mexican pesos)

Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Dave Graham and Jonathan Oatis

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