Senate closes with poor track record

As has occurred for years, the new Senate in office since 16 August 1998 left behind several important bills. The Senate is predominantly in the hands of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano that has all but three senators. The senators will not meet again until 27 February 1999. Among the bills the senators, busy with issuing worthless resolutions and political bickering didn’t get around to passing, are the Financial and Monetary Code, the General Electricity Bill, the Water Code and the Environmental Code. Likewise, the Senate chose to ignore the bills related to tariff reform that would reduce import duties and increase the sales tax, or ITBIS. Bills that would favor single mothers and aging persons were also left waiting for the attention of the senators. Upon their return, the senators also have pending the Free Trade Agreement signed with several Central American countries. The Senate neither studied loan contracts with international credit organizations for US$200 million. The funds would be used for education, health, environmental, farming and electricity projects. The major achievement of the Senate was to approve the National Budget. The incentive to do so was that if they didn’t, the Presidency would operate with the 1998 budget and would have millions of extra pesos to use at the discretion of the Executive Branch.