Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Special Budget Tabled for 32nd Time

There has been considerable effort in the United States to send a message to Taiwan on the importance of the special budget (the most recent example being Congressman Chabot). Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has tried time and again to get the budget for arms (now including eight submarines and 12 sub-hunting aircraft) to the floor of the Legislative Yuan for a debate. The Pan-Blue Coalition, which includes the Kuomintang (KMT) and People First Party (PFP), has prevented this from happening by tabling the motion repeatedly.

The Blues have previously tried to portray this as a principled stand against over-priced weaponry that isn't needed because Taiwan can trust China's intentions. Many, however, suspect that stonewalling the special budget, which was originally a KMT initiative, is part of a larger initiative to prevent the passage of any DPP sponsored legislation or action from passing the legislature. Jujuflop has blogged on the effect of this policy on the Control Yuan. Today's Taipei Times shows informs us that the special budget is just one of many bills being held from debate.
The committee voted in favor of tabling the stymied arms procurement bill along with 17 other bills proposed by the DPP and its small ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).
That seems to lend support to the general obstructionist theory.

One additional piece from the article worth considering:
The PFP has threatened to push the party asset bill through for legislative review if the KMT breaks ranks with it on the arms bill, which the PFP adamantly opposes.That bill is designed to compel the KMT to return its stolen party assets to the public and state coffers.
Whether you see that as extortion or horse-trading, I guess is a matter of perspective, but it doesn't seem like the Blues are particularly friendly at the moment.