Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Pan-blue camp blocks arms bill again

REVENGE Piqued because their cross-strait visits did not attract DPP praise, pan-blue legislative committee members threatened to obstruct every pan-green bill

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pan-blue-camp legislators vote to strike the arms-procurement bill from the agenda of the Procedure Committee during the committee's emotional meeting at the legislature yesterday.

PHOTO: FENG PIN, TAIPEI TIMES

Despite pleas from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) committee members, the pan-blue-camp dominated Procedure Committee again rejected the long-obstructed arms-procurement bill as well as again blocking President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) nominations for the Control Yuan.

However, the committee agreed to place draft statutes on the National Assembly's exercise of power and the 2008 Taiwan Expo on the agenda for Friday's plenary legislative session.

Expressing his concern that important bills may not be passed before the legislative session concludes at the end of the month, DPP caucus whip Lai Ching-te (賴清德) pleaded to the committee to place them on the agenda.

"Please, please, please. I'm sincerely imploring you to push those bills through to the committees for review," he said. "If you pass on this opportunity today, I fear that they will not pass into law before the current session ends."

Lai's appeal drew a short round of applause from a minority of committee members.

The appeal, however, received the cold shoulder from People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Lee Yung-ping (李永萍).

"We will not support any bill proposed by the Chen administration until the DPP offers a public apology and responds positively to the efforts the pan-blue alliance has been making to improve cross-strait relations," she said.

She vowed to work with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to strike down future bills proposed by the pan-green camp.

PFP Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that it was not the job of opposition parties to cooperate with the ruling party.

"Our job is to oversee. Partisan cooperation is not equal to surrender," he said. "The DPP may criticize us for blocking its bills, but it should take a good look at itself and ask whether it did a good job in negotiating with the opposition parties."

The PFP and KMT committee members rejected seven bills proposed by the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

The bills included the arms-procurement bill, a bill confirming Control Yuan candidates selected by the president, a bill establishing a supervisory and management committee for pensions, a national loyalty bill and amendments to the Public Debt Law (公債法).

Committee members voted 18 to 12 to shelve the seven bills and 18 to 13 against two more bills proposed by the pan-green camp.

Cross-party talks called by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday morning failed to bear fruit because of the absence of PFP representatives and opposition from the KMT.

The representatives agreed to talk today about the statute governing the National Assembly's exercise of power and other bills.

The KMT repeated its opposition to the Taiwan Expo bill, saying that it was nothing but a "regional fair," because the government was not planning to sign an agreement with the International Bureau of Exhibitions (BIE) in Paris.

KMT caucus whip Chen Chieh (陳杰) said that the party opposed the event because it did not want to see the government borrow an amount of money that would increase the financial burden of the nation's children.

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