New budget hikes spending, including windfall for KRG

Parliament passed a 2019 budget, approving near-record expenditures and curtailing penalties for the Kurdistan region's independent oil exports.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi (center) flanked by Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban on his right and Finance Minister Fuad Hussein on his left, after the cabinet was confirmed on Oct. 24, 2018. (Source: Iraqi Parliament website)

BAGHDAD - Iraq's Parliament passed a 2019 budget law Thursday - breaking through political gridlock by authorizing massive increases in spending, including new revenue guarantees for the autonomous Kurdistan region.

The new law, ratified in a late-night session that extended into Thursday morning, features the largest deficit and the second-highest annual spending in the post-Saddam Hussein era.

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