Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Approvals Abundant With Blues Absent

William Lai, Chair of the Procedures Committee, surprised the Pan Blues by ending debate on the Arms Bill and numerous other contentious issues and voting to send the issues to the floor for a vote or to other committees (Taipei Times, Taiwan News, Jujuflop). The Blues had kept numerous bills bottled-up in that committee, preventing them from even having a simple up or down vote. The forty-second time that the issue was in front of the committee has proven to be different than the first 41.

How did the Greens pull off such a feat?
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip William Lai, who chaired yesterday's meeting, began the sitting promptly at noon, when just five of the pan-blue camp's 19 committee members had shown up. The DPP had mobilized all of its committee members to be there, giving Lai the quorum he needed to proceed.

The Arms Bill wasn't all that got by the absent legislators:
In addition to the arms budget, the bills now on the legislative agenda include confirmation of President Chen Shui-bian's nominees for the Control Yuan, the president's state of the nation address -- expected to focus on the arms procurement package -- and different versions of a party assets bill intended to compel the KMT to return its stolen assets.

The Blues are predictably peeved by the move, calling it a "surprise attack" and a "Pan Green raid." The leadership of the Pan Blue Coalition promised that they would retaliate and the legislature would soon return to deadlock.