The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday said it planned to call a second provisional legislative meeting on Aug. 16 to pass the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China.
Caucus secretary-general Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said KMT lawmakers hoped to hold the provisional session from Aug. 16 to Aug. 31 in a bid to pass the ECFA and a cross-strait copyright protection pact, as well as amend related laws.
During the first provisional session, pan-blue lawmakers agreed on July 9 to refer the ECFA and the copyright deal to a one-month cross-party negotiation period and to allow the pacts to skip a preliminary review, triggering a walkout by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers.
Under legislative rules, the legislature has to call a vote on a bill after the negotiation period ends.
Lin said the KMT caucus would also include three other proposals on next month’s agenda that would allow Chinese students to enroll in Taiwanese universities and give recognition to Chinese educational credentials. All three proposals are controversial.
However, the caucus will not seek to include a proposed amendment to the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法) in the agenda because the bill remains “too controversial,” Lin said.
“Local governments have not reached a consensus [as to how to amend the act], so everyone still needs to communicate, but the three bills concerning Chinese students will be included in the agenda because the bills have been stalled for two years,” he said.
Lin said it remains uncertain whether the bill that would reform the National Health Insurance system will be part of agenda.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the KMT caucus had failed to properly prioritize items on the agenda.
The DPP caucus has a different set of priorities for the session because it believes priority should be given to revising the Public Debt Act (公共債務法) and the Act Governing the Allocation for Government Revenues and Expenditures, he said.
More attention should be paid to local government budgets and other financial issues, with the year-end elections around the corner, he said.
“These proposals should be handled first, but instead the KMT wants to put the cart before the horse and first handle the laws concerning Chinese students,” Ker said.
While the DPP caucus will end its boycott for the second provisional legislative session, it would not “passively cooperate” with the KMT caucus on its proposals, Ker said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VINCENT Y. CHAO
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