Pan-green lawmakers yesterday said that they were worried about the sluggish progress in passing legislation while pan-blue lawmakers said the impasse was the green camp's fault.
"The current session will end at the end of May. There are only a few more weeks for us to do what we are supposed to do. However, opponents still keep their doors shut instead of negotiating with us and helping us approve some important bills. This worries all of my fellow Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] colleagues here," said DPP caucus whip Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻).
"So far, we have approved nothing, although Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and his Cabinet team have proposed five priority bills, which have been pending since last legislative session."
The five priority bills that Chen mentioned are the amendment to the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan, the amendment to the Health Insurance Law, the NT$480 billion special arms budget, the amendment to the National Assembly Law and the 2008 Taiwan Exposition Special Statute.
"In addition to technically boycotting our proposals, the pan-blue camp is busy with too many side jobs," Chen added.
Chen said that in addition to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) planned visits to China, the blue camp is also busy with the political campaigns of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) for the KMT chairmanship.
"I hope that they can focus on the real priorities," Chen said.
The issue of the sluggish legislative progress began last Wednesday, when Hsieh complained that lawmakers' constant vetoing of the Cabinet's proposals has prevented him from moving forward. Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said that the TSU will definitely endorse the DPP's proposals.
"These bills do not concern politics at all. I sincerely hope that my fellow lawmakers will work together on them," Lo said.
As for the five priority bills, Lo said that the TSU has no problems with them, but that he would not presume they would be passed before the end of the session.
KMT caucus whip Chen Chieh (陳杰) said that the pan-blue camp did not boycott the pan-green camp's proposals "on purpose."
"They did not seriously persuade us with strong arguments and make progress on those bills, since most of them were vetoed due to obvious defects," Chen Chieh said.
"Those bills have been pending since last session. Now, half of the current session has passed, but the problems still exist. How can we simply close our eyes and approve the bills like that?"
PFP caucus whip Chen Chih-pin (
"We spent too much time listening to the Cabinet's administrative briefing," he said. "However, I believe that the process will speed up since the committees have begun to review the bills and will submit them to the legislature for final approval very soon, as long as the bills are well-organized."