That rowdy budget committee

The Budget Committee in the House of Councillors is currently debating the 2007 supplementary budget before moving on to the 2008 budget.

The opposition, now in control of the HC, has been giving the prime minister and members of his cabinet a rough time in deliberations, at least according to Yamamoto Ichita, LDP HC member. Writing at his blog, Mr. Yamamoto complained about “excessive vulgar attacks” on the government from the opposition seats. He also complained that the government seats were “too quiet.”

According to Mainichi, Murata Renho, DPJ HC member and former TV talent, cited the Social Insurance Agency’s manual for dealing with pensioners to question the prime minister. The manual instructs bureaucrats to ask pensioners about “the biggest news story in a particular year” to help jog their memories. Ms. Murata thus asked Mr. Fukuda about the important news from 1976. The prime minister replied, “It does not occur to me quickly,” this despite 1976 being the year that his father became prime minister.

The pestering of Prime Minister Fukuda doesn’t accomplish much aside from embarrassing him — and showing his age — but these episodes show the lingering weakness of the Diet’s committees, even the Budget Committee. Despite opposition control of the HC, does anyone doubt that important deals will be worked out anywhere but in Diet interpellations?

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