Knesset Finance Committee Backs 2013-14 Budget

Lawmakers agree to give defense establishment until the fall to detail how it will spend its money in 2014.

The Knesset Finance Committee approved Monday the 2013-14 state budget, but lawmakers agreed to give the defense establishment until the fall to detail how it will spend its money in 2014.

Debate over the spending package, which will amount to NIS 395 billion this year and NIS 405.2 billion in 2014, is scheduled to move to the full Knesset this afternoon. The committee backed the government's proposal for some NIS 600 million in last-minute spending cuts, approved by the cabinet on Sunday.

Opposition MKs have vowed to start a filibuster from tomorrow and have submitted 4,368 reservations on the budget and the accompanying Economic Arrangements Bill. Voting on the two is slated to begin next Monday and run for some 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved the defense spending package as well. Those lawmakers backed a NIS 52.5 billion budget in 2013 and NIS 51 billion for 2014, with a NIS 6 billion supplement for each year.

Some of the MKS, including Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu ), objected to the fact that the committee was asked to approve an aggregate budget without any information about the components of the 2014 package.

But Reuven Rivlin (Likud ), with backing from Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Legal Adviser Miri Frankel-Schorr, gave the army 45 days to provide the details. Lieberman approved a delay until November 1.

Emil Salman