Session of the Chamber of Senators chaired by Cristina Kirchner (EFE / Juan Ignacio Roncoroni)
In the last session of the Senate in which it will have its own quorum before the legislative change, the ruling party will validate 48 Decrees of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) issued by Alberto Fernández in the last two years with a closed book. Although the figure is close to fifty, it is less than half of the 116 DNUs that had obtained an opinion from the Frente de Todos in the Bicameral Legislative Procedure on November 18. That day, the ruling party asserted its majority in that Commission and the opposition bench rose from the meeting after considering that they were “invalid” because they had not been debated in a timely manner by Congress. After signing a minority opinion of his own, today he will insist on the premises with his rejection of that package.
Just three weeks later, Kirchnerism decided to leave out more than half of the DNU signed by Alberto Fernández. Most of the remaining 48, which it will take to the site, refer to health and economic measures related to the pandemic issued in 2020 and this year, except one: the one that declares the promotion of Argentine natural gas to be of national public interest.
For this reason, the political reading that flies over the corridors of Parliament and in the Casa Rosada is that Cristina Kirchner, in her dismissal of her own majority in the Senate, will not endorse those other 68 decrees of the President, among which there are several referring to key decisions of the Fernández administration.
For example, one that generated internal noise within the Frente de Todos: the suspension of the pension mobility formula dictated by the government of Mauricio Macri. This DNU gave the Executive the power to set the increases at its discretion and, in practice, the pension assets were below the accumulated inflation.
The 48 DNUs that will be approved today include 17 that provided for mandatory isolation and social distancing (ASPO and DISPO), with restrictions on mobility and permitted activities; another 4 on social assistance and benefits to certain sectors; and 24 related to decisions in the workplace, such as the emergency in occupational matters and the prohibition of dismissals. Only the one that made the 2020-2024 Gas Plan official integrates the economic package of the original list promoted by the same ruling party in the Bicameral just three weeks ago.
Some of those who were “pending”
On the other hand, several other relevant DNUs were not included in the albertist management, signed by the presidential pen and his cabinet, such as the expansion of the Budget for 2021 by $ 710,000 million, the reduction of export withholdings for mining, the creation of the State entity of control of the Hidrovía, or the raising of the Profit floor to $ 175,000. The opposition also denounced that the original list included the accounting twice of the IMF drawing rights – for USD 4,334 million – to be able to issue more than 400,000 million pesos in the “silver” plan after the defeat of the Government in the STEP.
Also left out, for example, the repeal of the creation of the National Agency for the protection of witnesses and defendants created during the Cambiemos government, and the Macri decree that allowed the rapid expulsion of foreigners who commit crimes. In the ruling party they said that they will be sent in “packages” and questioned the opposition’s rejection for “political reasons” on measures taken in “the exceptionality of the pandemic.”
There are those who speculate that, by not approving all the DNUs issued by Fernández, the door may be open to a future annulment. But to “fall” a DNU requires a rejection of both chambers, something very unlikely with the current composition of Congress. For their validation, however, only the approval of one of them is necessary. But in practice, their “no treatment” allows them to remain in force as they are not expressly rejected.
“The DNU take effect from the moment they are issued. Today they are fait accompli and, at this point, there is nothing that can be changed. That is why it is important that the Chamber expresses itself within a reasonable period of dictates. But the ruling party planned its treatment for eight months in the Legislative Procedure Bicameral, which had to discuss them, “warned Luis Naidenoff, president of the radicalism bloc.
Luis Naidenoff, president of the UCR bloc and the Juntos por el Cambio interblock.
“All the outrages and abuses committed in the provinces during the quarantine provided by these decrees were validated by the governors who respond to Cristina Kirchner. And the senators of the ruling party were accomplices of those outrages, such as those that occurred, for example, in Santiago del Estero, Córdoba or Formosa. They endorsed them by not allowing their debate in a timely manner, when they were dictated by the president, “added the Formosan legislator, until today also head of the Juntos por el Cambio interbloque in the Senate, and who from tomorrow will be replaced in that position by Alfredo Cornejo, about to leave the leadership of the National Committee of the UCR.
For the deputy Luis Petri, also a radical who is part of the Bicameral where the opposition rejected them as a whole, there are no doubts: “The decision to bring only a part of the 116 to the premises has to do with an internal one of them and a discussion doors inside, for an eventual conditioning by Cristina Kirchner to Alberto ”.
The original list of 116 also included some sloppiness, such as two common decrees, one approving the resignation of Federico Basualdo from the National Electricity Regulatory Entity (ENRE) to become Undersecretary of Energy of the Nation. Basualdo is the official endorsed by Cristina Kirchner that the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, could never cast.
Goodbye to your own quorum
This Thursday is the last session of the Upper House with its conformation as a result of the 2019 election, which gave the Frente de Todos a majority and its own quorum. It will begin after noon, at the end of the preparatory session in which the elected senators will be sworn in on November 14 last. As the new legislators only take office on December 10, the Government will have today for the last time – and until midnight – the required number to hold sessions (37), and vote on the initiatives without the need for the opposition.
José Mayans, president of the Frente de Todos bloc in the Senate (Photo: Gabriel Cano / Comunicacion Senado.)
As of midnight tomorrow, for the first time since 1983, Peronism in its different versions will not have a guaranteed quorum. The block that José Mayans from Formosa will continue to preside will go from 41 to 35 senators, two below the number required to hold sessions. Before the clock strikes that time, the Frente de Todos will take advantage of its majority in the upper house.
As a result of the triumph of Juntos at the national level in the legislative elections in which the Senate renewed 24 seats, and of the defeat of the Frente de Todos in 6 of the 8 districts that put its three seats at stake, the Juntos interblock will have 31 legislators, and aspires to add the support of 3 allies of the Federal Interblock, which would leave the Senate in a virtual tie of 34 to 35.
The rest of the session topics
In addition to the 50 DNU of the President, it was agreed to open the discussion of two projects on tables, which require a special majority of two thirds to enable their treatment: one on contraception in people with disabilities, and the other that seeks to guarantee human rights of people living on the street.
The rest of the initiatives, about 45, have the agreement of all the banks and will be approved without discussion. They are promoted by senators of different political backgrounds and who, in many cases, asked to speed up their treatment before saying goodbye to their seats. Among them is the one that declares December 3 National Day of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There is also the permission that each year the Congress must grant to the President of the Nation so that he can leave the country for protocol reasons.
The fight in radicalism reaches the Senate: Lousteau will lose a position, Carolina Losada will replace him and Cornejo will preside over the JxC interblockThe new senators take office amid disputes in the blocs and Kirchnerism takes advantage of its own last quorum