Wed, Oct 19, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue camp blocks arms bill for 33rd time

GRIDLOCK The pan-blues again rejected the arms bill and refused to move forward with a request for the president to give a speech to the legislature

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip William Lai, center, yesterday appears to look on helplessly as the pan-blue legislators in the legislative procedure committee reject placing the arms procurement bill on the legislative agenda for the 33rd time.

PHOTO: LUO PEI-TEH, TAIPEI TIMES

The pan-blue dominated Procedure Committee yesterday rejected the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus' proposal to invite President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to deliver a state of the nation address to the legislature.

The proposed report would focus on the arms procurement bill.

The committee also refused for the 33rd time to place the arms procurement plan on the legislative agenda, as well as the list of Chen's nominees for the Control Yuan.

DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) later held a press conference to express regret over the result and condemned the pan-blue camp for using their numerical advantage to block government bills.

"To disallow the president to address the legislature is a show of disrespect for the president and a violation of the president's constitutional right," Lai said.

Citing Article 4 of the Organization Act of the Legislature's Procedure Committee (立法院程序委員會組織規程), Lai said that the committee does not have the right to bar any bill that has passed through due procedure.

He also said People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) was being "barbaric" for taking advantage of the pan-blue alliance's majority in the committee to settle differences over the committee's functions.

Lai was referring to a dispute that took place at the committee at noon.

DPP Legislator and committee member Wang To-Far (王塗發) said during the meeting that it was wrong for Procedure Committee members to use their powers to encroach on the rights of lawmakers sitting on other committees.

"Remember, what you say and do today here will go into the history books," he said.

DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said that he would start supporting all bills that have completed due procedure and called on other committee members to follow suit.

To show his support for Cheng, DPP Legislator Wu Bing-ray (吳秉叡) said that although he personally opposed amendments to the Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus, he would not propose to delay it.

Pan-blue lawmakers, however, still proposed to block the arms procurement plan and Chen's nominees for the Control Yuan, as well as 16 other bills proposed by the DPP and its ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

The two camps then launched into a debate over whether the Procedure Committee has the right to block bills that have completed due procedure.

Realizing that the debate was going nowhere, Hwang and KMT Legislator Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), who also serves as the executive director of the party's Central Policy Committee, proposed to put the issue to a vote.

The pan-blue dominated committee voted 18 to 12 to stop the discussion and vote on committee members' proposals to defer certain bills.

Stakked bills

Major DPP bills that have been obstructed by the Procedure Committee since the beginning of the sixth legislative term in February

1. Invite President Chen Shio-bian to deliver a state of the nation address focusing on the arms procurement plan: Blocked once

2. Arms procurement plan: Blocked 33 times

3. Amendments to the State-Owned Properties Law (國有財產法): Blocked 17 times

4. Confirmation of President Chen Shui-bian’s nominees for the Control Yuan: Blocked 15 times

5. Amendments to the Referendum Law (公民投票法): Blocked 7 times

6. Bill governing the survey and disposition of assets and properties of political parties and their affiliates: Blocked 7 times

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