Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Pan-green dodge bid to cut presidential budget

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers and their pan-green allies in the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday fought off an attempt by the pan-blue camp to trim next year's budget for the Presidential Office.

The NT$1.286 billion budget was approved by the legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee after opposition lawmakers' questioned Deputy Secretary-General to the Presidential Office Chen Che-nan (陳哲男).

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) lawmakers were particularly concerned about the budget for the yet-to-be-opened National Human Rights Memorial Hall, travel allowances for presidential advisors and a secret budget for confidential affairs managed by the president.

PFP Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) challenged the legitimacy of a budget for the memorial hall, saying that budgeting for an unapproved government organ violated the Budget Law (預算法).

Chen disagreed, saying, "The Presidential Office obeyed the resolution of the Legislative Yuan earlier stating that the preparatory office of the memorial hall was prohibited from using the budget until the passage of its organic law by lawmakers."

"But the budget was planned in a hope that the hall would start operation right after legislative approval, which was expected months ago, and thus the Presidential Office drafted the plan" Chen said.

A motion to halve the Presidential Office budget also failed.

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