Wed, Jan 03, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Budget still tied up in legislature

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The review of the fiscal 2001 budget bill ground to a halt again yesterday, after some KMT lawmakers attempted to push through a controversial amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法) in the middle of the legislative meeting.

As today is the final day of the current legislative session, lawmakers need to seek a solution to the deadlock in time to save the budget bill.

"If the hawks insist on binding the amendment and the budget bill together, the budget bill for this fiscal year may have problems passing the legislature," said Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財), convener of the DPP legislative caucus.

The amendment, which is intended to require prosecutors to obtain permission from a court before launching searches, was sent to the floor of the legislature despite the fact it had just completed a review in a committee meeting.

The legislature started the second reading process for the amendment during an interval yesterday afternoon, when leaders of legislative caucuses were holding negotiations and were close to sorting out their remaining differences over the budget bill.

Every New Party, DPP and People First Party lawmaker was against handling the amendment now, because there are still wide inter-party disagreements as to the details of the amendment.

New Party Legislator Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) said the KMT's move to try to sneak the amendment through the legislature is against an inter-party consensus that a bill should not be handled on the floor of the legislature unless inter-party differences over it have already been sorted out though negotiations.

"No inter-party negotiations have ever been held for the amendment," Hsieh said.

The legislature was forced to call a recess because of the dispute, and the review of the budget bill was not able to get started as of 8pm last night.

Whether lawmakers are able to reach an agreement as to how the amendment is to be handled will determine if the third and final reading of the budget starts today.

Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), convener of the New Party caucus, said the inter-party differences over the fiscal 2001 budget bill had been reduced to a minimum level yesterday after numerous rounds of negotiations. "We hope the budget bill can be passed as soon as possible," Lai said.

Lawmakers are expected to resort to a ballot for a final decision as soon as the review of the budget bill starts today.

The fiscal 2001 budget bill, submitted by the Executive Yuan, has projected expenditures totaling NT$1.6082 trillion and revenues totaling NT$1.4585 trillion.

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