'PAN-BLUES' AGAIN BLOCK U.S. ARMS BILL FROM LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 29 (CNA) Once again, the opposition "pan-blue alliance" of the Kuomintang (KMT) , the People First Party (PFP) and the New Party Tuesday block a bill onto the legislative agenda for the purchase of a controversial package of weaponry from the United States.
The KMT and the PFP caucuses of the legislatures said that a special budget for the major arms procurement would increase the national debt, and so should not be referred to the National Defense Committee for review.
This was the second time the bill has been blocked from being put on the legislature's agenda since the Cabinet marked down the ceiling price for the procurement package from the original NT$610.8 billion to NT$480 billion (US$15.38 billion) because a plan to build submarines in Taiwan was dropped, and because the new Taiwan dollar has appreciated against the U.S. dollar.
The Cabinet first proposed a similar bill for the purchase of six Patriot PAC-III anti-missile batteries, eight diesel-electric submarines and a squadron of 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft from the United States last year, but it, together with a proposed special budget for the procurement, was shelved by the legislature owing to opposition from the majority "pan-blue alliance."
After the proposed statutes and budget were killed at the end of the last legislative term in January this year, the Cabinet had to re-submit them to the new legislature that started Feb. 1.
(By Lilian Wu)
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