Between lists of traitors, harsh accusations and varied catharses, the waters continue to stir in Congress after the shipwreck of the Omnibus Law. The ruling party and the opposition share the certainty that the project, as proposed, will not be discussed again in Deputies.
The “dialogueists” insist – although with serious doubts that Javier Milei ever had the intention of passing a law – that the Government divide the reform package into several initiatives and negotiate again when “the dust subsides”, with the governors. included.
Faced with the threat of new DNUs to make up for the lack of support in Congress, the parliamentary opposition anticipates a conflict of powers and an “expiration date”, while the possibility of a “popular consultation” – which was also raised again in Casa Rosada – was interpreted as “a smokescreen” with very limited practical purposes that were difficult to achieve. These same dialogue groups recognize, on the other hand, the uncomfortable situation in which they were left.
Read also: Javier Milei spoke about the Omnibus Law: “I am not interested in continuing to deal with it, the caste was evident”
Considering the six meetings of the General Legislation, Budget and Constitutional Affairs commissions, which according to the official calculation of the Lower House met for 70 hours, added to the more than 30 hours of debate in the room between general and individual voting Since last January 9, the Omnibus Law required at least 100 hours of formal debate. This is, without counting the multiple meetings between legislators, party leaders, governors, parliamentary authorities and national officials, which took place in parallel.
The ruling bloc, during the vote in particular on the Omnibus Law in the Chamber of Deputies. Photo: Telam
With that backpack, legislators from the ruling party and opposition who live in the interior began to return to their provinces. The blocks made their first assessments, analyzed the causes of parliamentary failure and, in the case of the opponents, resolved discursive strategies to respond to the Government's accusations against the “traitors” and exponents of the caste, a list in which the Office The President even appointed deputies – for example radicals – who approved the project in general and all the first articles, except for one subsection.
On the day after the project fell, the opposition blocs did not expect the Government to restart the debate on the Omnibus Law in committees, nor a quick parliamentary reaction from the ruling party. In general, there was a feeling that not much more would happen in the Deputies until next week's return of Javier Milei to Argentina. For now, as of February 15, he should once again extend the period of extraordinary sessions.
“Now the President has the ball”: the forecast was shared, with shades of anger, by legislators from diverse spaces such as the PRO (which, despite the internal conflicts, was the opposition space that showed greater unity of action and accompanied in all the votes for the ruling party), the UCR (which voted divided, but had already warned exactly which articles it would not support), We Make the Federal Coalition (which supported less than expected in the previous one) and Federal Innovation (linked to governors of provincial forces, which took a much tougher position than anticipated).
The PRO bloc in Deputies, led by Cristian RItondo, sat next to La Libertad Avanza in the venue (Photo: NA).
The big question in Congress was whether Milei had the intention of rebuilding the dialogue with the opposition and how. Fundamentally with the provincial governors, and especially with some such as Martín Llaryora from Córdoba – part of a force that until now has men in the national government and in the control of key “banks” such as Anses -, Alberto Weretilneck from Rio Negro, the Rolando Figueroa from Neuquén, Gustavo Sáenz from Salta and the missionary Hugo Passalacqua.
In the federal blocks they insist that the President be the one to call all the leaders to a meeting, now without intermediaries with little decision-making power (as some consider the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos), if they have intentions not only of approve what remains of the Omnibus Law, but also the potential new “fiscal pact” or the labor reform that the Government had let it be known that it would send to parliament.
On the other hand, in the ruling party, but also spaces such as the PRO and the UCR, they pointed out that, in the short term, those who have the most to lose are the governors themselves, who “in a month or two they will have to start paying salaries in installments,” according to an opposition legislator. Between tugs and warnings, everyone hoped that, before any decision, “the foam would subside” first.
From the DNU to the popular consultation
In the national Cabinet they also let it be known, once again, that the Executive could move forward with a new DNU or new ones or with a “popular consultation.”
As all opposition blocs warn, a “binding” popular consultation must necessarily go through Congress. The Government could call a “non-binding” popular consultation, as an attempt to exert “popular pressure” on legislators.
“It would be stupid for several reasons: because of the expense that something like this entails in a context with half of the people in poverty; because it would take months to carry it out and because they could simply lose it and on top of that it would not force them to do anything,” summarized a dialogueist deputy that the President's Office placed on the list of those who “voted in favor of the people.”
The head of the We Make Federal Coalition bloc, Miguel Pichetto (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)By: REUTERS
The DNU represents a more complex and unpredictable discussion. To begin with, it has constitutional limitations, meaning Milei could not use it to make changes in criminal, tax or electoral matters. But the decrees also have parliamentary control.
Until now, the ruling party decided not to form the Bicameral of Legislative Procedures, which should analyze all the decrees before putting them to a vote in the chamber. Every DNU is valid as long as it is not rejected by the two legislative Chambers (just one is not enough) or invalidated in Justice, and this is the case with the mega DNU that Milei signed in December.
Now, without Bicameral and after the deadline, the deputies and senators can meet, if they achieve a quorum, and reject it on the floor. Today, in the dialogue blocks they indicate there are no intentions to accompany a possible session called by the PJ-K to reject the DNU that is already in force.
The head of the UCR block in Deputies, Rodrigo de Loredo, in his speech in one of the sessions for the Omnibus Law (Photo: NA).
“There is no way for us to sit down with Kirchnerism to overturn a decree without treatment in the Bicameral. But we have to see where Milei is going: everyone did it to govern with decrees; overreaching, wanting to close Congress, not going to the opening of sessions on March 1, the violence that is being generated with the assembly of lists…. is something else. As time goes by, it also exhausts willpower,” warned a UCR representative.
It is not clear what could happen a month from now, with new decrees and an escalation of tensions between the Executive and the governors. Thus, for example, in the Senate, UxP has 33 senators, which would require only 4 more -assuming perfect attendance- to achieve a quorum. To begin with, there are three senators who respond to the governor of Río Negro and the governor of Misiones, who were allies of the PJ-K until last December 10, and whom the Executive already put in the group “against” the people. Until now, he has not been able to meet.