Tue, Jan 10, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers finally agree to confirm NCC nominees

MOVING ALONG Legislators decided at a cross-party meeting yesterday that they will confirm the 13 NCC nominees and tackle the national budget on Thursday

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday agreed that they will confirm the nominees for the National Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday. They also resolved to vote on the national budget for this year.

The consensus was reached at a cross-party meeting called by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday morning to discuss the legislature's agenda for the last three days this session. The winter recess starts on Saturday.

Lawmakers yesterday agreed to tackle three government restructuring bills tomorrow. They are amendments to the Organic Standard Law of the Central Government Agencies (中央行政機關組織基準法), revisions to the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法) and a draft temporary statute regarding the adjustment of the Executive Yuan's functions.

They will proceed to the second and third readings if a consensus can be reached during a cross-party negotiation chaired by Wang tomorrow morning.

On Thursday, lawmakers will confirm the 13 NCC nominees in the morning and vote on controversial items in the government budget in the afternoon. Another round of cross-party talks will be called as a last-ditch effort to iron out differences before the vote.

On Friday, the last day of the legislative session, five bills will be put to a vote if no consensus is reached during cross-party negotiations to be held on Friday morning. They are a bill pertaining to the structure of a labor pension fund supervisory board, amendments to the Outlying Islands Development Law (離島建設條例), revisions to the Law Governing Communications Protection and Electronic Surveillance (通訊保障及監察法), modifications to the Public Officials Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法) and amendments to the Income Tax Law (所得稅法).

The legislature's Technology and Information Committee and Education and Culture Committee held a joint hearing yesterday morning to discuss the confirmation of the NCC nominees.

Despite an objection lodged by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Sandy Chuang (莊和子), the pan-blue dominated committee voted 16 to 2 in favor of a proposal initiated by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) to refer the confirmation to Thursday's legislative sitting.

Meanwhile, Wang yesterday dismissed an allegation that his handling of the budget was biased to please President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

"Whoever made such a remark is totally out of line," Wang said.

"The way I handled the [latest] budget isn't any different from what I have done in the past, and the amount that has been pruned so far is similar to that of last year," he said.

Last year's budget was trimmed by NT$27.2 billion (US$851.3 million) and about 20 proposals on the budget were put to a vote.

Wang said that he expects to see the same number of budget proposals this year.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the second phase of cross-party talks, in which negotiators will barter over items on which they failed to reach agreement during the first phase of negotiations. This includes the long-delayed arms procurement budget.

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