Sunday, March 3, 2024

ARGENTINA | 24-01-2024 17:44

Omnibus bill: Argentina’s government pushes back lower house debate

Government sources in the Chamber of Deputies, speaking on condition of anonymity, say that ruling party wants to push back debate on landmark bill until next Tuesday (January 30).

President Javier Milei’s government has decided to postpone debate of its landmark ‘Omnibus Law’ bill in the lower house until next Tuesday.

The news, confirmed by government sources to multiple news outlets on Wednesday, means a vote on the decisive bill won’t take place until next week.

The La Libertad Avanza administration was expected to push for congressional debate to begin on Thursday. 

The bill has been discussed at committee stage and was majority approved by members of the general, budget and constitutional committees in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

La Libertad Avanza and the representatives from the PRO, UCR and Hacemos Coalición Federal caucuses reached an agreement and signed a majority opinion. A total of 55 members approved, with 34 dissenting. Four other minority opinions were noted, one of them with 45 signatures corresponding to Unión por la Patria Peronist bloc.

According to reporting by the Noticias Argentinas news agency, a delay in congressional debate was requested by libertarian Lower House Speaker Martin Menem. 

Milei’s party, which had spent the day in negotiations with governors and house representatives, is seeking to build more support for its sweeping law, known formally as the ‘Ley Bases y puntos de partida para la libertad de los argentinos’ (“Law of bases and starting points for freedom of the Argentines”).

Differences that still have to be settled include disputes over agricultural export duties, the formula for updating pension payments and the future of the Sustainability Guarantee Fund (FGS), among others.

During the committee stage debate on the bill, the head of the Unión por la Patria caucus, Germán Martínez, confirmed that his party will vote against the legislation. He strongly criticised government officials and aides, including Economy Minister Luis Caputo, and presidential adviser Federico Sturzenegger.

"The expression of our bloc will be one of rejection. We are going to have, sooner rather than later, that other deputies from other caucuses will realise that it is a mistake to give more powers to this president," said Martínez.



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