Defying expectations, the legislature yesterday failed to approve a budget request for a 3 percent pay raise for civil servants as expected after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus asked for negotiations with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) before it undergoes a second reading.
“If the negotiations go well, it remains possible that the budget request will clear the legislature before the legislature closes this session,” Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said.
Related legislative regulations allow for a one-month negotiation period during which the legislature may not act on bills that lack lawmaker consensus.
To meet the government’s proposed date of July 1 for the pay raise to take effect, the legislature has to approve the budget request before the end of this session on June 30 or extend the session if an extra session is not held during recess.
Along with the budget of NT$11 billion (US$382.4 million), other measures were on hold, including a review of a budget request of NT$4.8 billion for monthly pensions to be distributed to more low-income households and another NT$2.9 billion budget request for tuition subsidies for children under the age of five and senior high vocational school students from economically disadvantaged families.
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said that the party decided to refer the bill to negotiation after thorough discussions because legislators remained divided on the pay raise proposal.
KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo--liang (謝國樑) criticized the DPP for boycotting the review, saying that the DPP should have expressed its opinions on the bill when it was deliberated during the preliminary review instead of blocking the bill after it had cleared the committee.