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Iraqi lawmakers pass budget with salary cuts

  • Story Highlights
  • Iraqi lawmakers reportedly OK $58.8 billion budget for 2009
  • Weak oil prices force $3.2 billion cut in spending, Kurdish lawmaker says
  • Three-member Iraqi presidential council still must approve the plan
  • Oil-dominated economy takes a beating due to global financial downturn
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's parliament has passed a $58.8 billion budget for 2009 after cutting $3.2 billion from government spending because of weak oil prices, a Iraqi lawmaker said.

The Iraqi presidential council, including Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, still must approve the spending plan.

The Iraqi presidential council, including Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, still must approve the spending plan.

The three-member Iraqi presidential council, including Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies, still needs to approve the spending plan.

The budget, adopted Thursday, was calculated based on $50 a barrel, said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman.

Crude oil currently is trading around $44 a barrel, and Iraq's oil-dominated economy has taken a beating due to the world financial downturn.

According to the Iraqi parliament Web site, Iraq still would expect to run up a deficit in 2009 of about $15 billion.

The original budget proposals made in July totaled $79 billion.

As a part of the trimming of government spending, Othman said that the Iraqi parliament voted to reduce the salaries of key officials by 20 percent.

Those affected include members of the presidential council, including the speaker of the parliament and his two deputies, the Iraqi president and his two vice presidents, the prime minister and his two deputies and the chairman of the judiciary council and his two deputies.

The Iraqi parliament also voted to cut lawmakers' own salaries by 10 percent. The 10 percent cut also will affect other high-ranking government officials.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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