Argentine Chamber approves Javier Milei’s reform package

Argentine Chamber approves Javier Milei’s reform package
Argentine Chamber approves Javier Milei’s reform package
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The Argentine Chamber approved the so-called ‘Bus Law’, the package of political and economic reforms of Javier Milei after a 30-hour marathon of debates and heated discussions that had been going on since Wednesday the 31st. Deputies must still discuss each of the more than 380 articles individually starting next Tuesday.

Despite A Liberdade Avança, Milei’s party, having only 38 of the 257 deputies, the government managed to easily surpass the mark of 129 votes needed to pass the ‘Bus Law’ with support from the dialogist opposition. There were 144 votes in favor of the project and 109 against.

To do this, the Casa Rosada had to give up almost half of the 664 articles that were originally foreseen, when the text was sent to Congress. ‘History will remember with honor all those who understood the historical context and decided to end the privileges of the caste and the corporate republic in favor of the people, who were impoverished and starved for years by the political class’, celebrated the cabinet of Javier Milei on social media adding that he hopes to count on the ‘same magnitude’ in the individual voting on the articles so that the final wording goes to the Senate.

The government had already abandoned the fiscal chapter of the reform and even said it would not make any new concessions, but again conceded on some of the points considered the most sensitive of the project. The Casa Rosada reduced the number of state-owned companies that will be privatized and the extraordinary powers that the Executive seeks to pass future reforms without Congress. Even so, the third day of the session was marked by intense negotiations regarding the tax For an Inclusive and Solidarity Argentina (PAIS), which applies to transactions in foreign currency. The provinces pressed for a share of the tax and deputies in Córdoba threatened to reduce support for emergency declarations that expand Javier Milei’s powers.

The government, on the other hand, asked that the discussion be left until after the ‘Bus Law’. At the end of the afternoon, Interior Minister Guillermo Francos went to the Chamber and met with a group of deputies from the dialogist opposition to open negotiations. ‘Now comes the most important part, which will be the point-by-point discussion, because several of the articles may fall due to not having a majority’, warns Argentine political scientist Carlos Fara in an interview with Estadão.

‘Political and negotiation mistakes were made along the way, but the government has an incentive to face the next sessions in a different way’, he added. After the tense voting marathon in the Chamber, the text will still need to pass through the Senate, where the government has only seven of the 72 senators. Even though it is a minority, the Casa Rosada hopes to count on the same alliances that guaranteed approval among deputies.

For Carlos Fara, the government could see the law being further dehydrated by senators. ‘Milei may also find a headache in the Senate, which may want to make modifications, which means that the law would have to go back to the Chamber of Deputies, resulting in a waste of time for the government and, by wasting time, it obviously loses power’, he concluded.

Pressure for voting

Earlier, in the final stretch of the debates, Javier Milei pushed for the vote and said that deputies have the opportunity to show which side of history they want to be on. ‘The government listened to the positions of the different political forces and demands responsibility and speed in voting’, states the office note shared by Milei on X (formerly Twitter). ‘The time for debate is over. It is time for the representatives of the people to decide whether they are on the side of the freedom of Argentines or on the side of the privileges of caste and the corporate republic,’ he continues. ‘The previous government left a devastated country. One in four Argentines is poor. Six out of ten children don’t eat every day. It is clear that the previous system has failed and the Executive branch urgently requires the tools to reform the economy,’ he adds.

Debate marked by protests

The debates were surrounded by protests from left-wing groups, unions and social movements against the reform around Congress. Security forces were called in to enforce the protocol that prohibits blocking roads and there were clashes between protesters and police on Wednesday and Thursday. The Peronist bloc harshly criticized what it called the ‘excesses’ of the troops and tried to suspend yesterday’s session. With the request rejected, the deputies from União Pela Pátria and Frente de Esquerda left the plenary to join the protesters gathered in front of Congress. The president of the Chamber, Martín Menem, continued the debates after they left. The ‘Bus Law’ is added to the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU), which concentrates another 366 measures to deregulate practically all aspects of the Argentine economy.

The so-called ‘megadecree’ still needs to go through a Congressional committee – which has the power to maintain or overturn it – and faces a series of legal challenges. This week, the Court declared the DNU’s labor reform chapter null and void, considered unconstitutional. In the opinion, the judges argued that the issue should have been debated by Congress and emphasized that the decree instrument is intended for urgent cases. The decision followed the request of the largest union center in Argentina, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT).


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Argentine Chamber approves Javier Mileis reform package

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