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KMT looks to pass annual budget today

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With the legislative session slated to end today and the review of the government's 2014 annual budget not yet completed, Kuomintang (KMT) Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) yesterday requested the KMT caucus try to pass the budget proposal today with all the party's strength.

Tseng was quoted after the KMT's routine meeting as saying that the KMT has to make sure the government annual budget proposal passes the third reading today, even if the KMT caucus has to stay up all night at the Legislative Yuan to process the bill.

As the ruling party and opposition have still not reached a consensus over the Communication Protection and Interception Act amendment, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus previously said that if the bill proposal fails to pass, it will boycott the 2014 annual budget proposal as a way to protest the ruling party.

Tseng said as the ruling party, the KMT could not let the budget proposal fail at the Legislative Yuan, noting that if worse came to the worse, the Legislative Yuan might need to hold interim meetings to process the budget proposal.

Preliminary Consensus for Cutting NT$24.5 Billion

The ruling and opposition parties completed two rounds of negotiation over the 2014 government annual budget with a preliminary consensus reached over cutting the annual expenditure of NT$24.5 billion.

In last August, the Executive Yuan approved the 2014 annual budget, which projects revenues of NT$1.7333 trillion, a decline of NT$2.5 billion compared with 2013, and expenditure of NT$1.9407 trillion, an increase of NT$33.1 billion from 2013's budget. The government plans to take loans of NT$273.9 billion in order to meet the NT$209.9 billion.

Act Governing Food Sanitation

DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) yesterday held a press conference urging the KMT caucus to change today's Yuan Sitting agenda, as the Act Governing Food Sanitation was not added to the agenda, meaning that the amendment will not be passed the third-reading at this legislative session.

Tien explained that the ruling and opposition reached a consensus on most of the articles of the Act Governing Food Sanitation amendment, and only one article is yet to be discussed. She said she suspects the KMT intentionally blocked the bill from passing at this legislative session.

KMT lawmaker Lin Te-fu (林德福) responded by saying that as Act Governing Food Sanitation amendment is a matter of food safety, there is no way the KMT would possibly block the bill from proceeding at the Legislative Yuan.

Lin went on to say that it is too late to add the act to today's agenda, noting that today has to focus on processing the 2014 government annual budget and several organic acts. The act could then possibly be passed if the Legislative Yuan holds interim meetings.

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