Why choose a PLFRSS?
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne confirmed on Tuesday January 10 that the pension reform will take the form of an amending social security financing bill (PLFRSS), which will be presented on January 23 to the Council of Ministers.
Technical and political reasons presided over this decision. The option of a PLFRSS had been on the table for several weeks, rather than a specific text which risks dragging out the debates. While an amending finance bill (PLFR) is common to adjust a budget, a PLFRSS is very rare, especially on a substantive reform. There were only two, on less important subjects: the establishment of a “profit sharing bonus”, in 2011, and the revision of the social solidarity contribution of companies (C3S), in 2014. This text also provided for a one-year freeze on pensions above €1,200.
Will the PLFRSS allow for debate?
The Prime Minister insisted: the project “will be debated” in Parliament. “We are ready to further develop our project. And this will be possible thanks to a loyal and constructive parliamentary debate”, she assured.
But a binding parliamentary procedure applies to a PLFRSS. Article 47-1 of the Constitution lays down the rules: “If the National Assembly has not decided on the first reading within twenty days after the tabling of a bill, the government refers the matter to the Senate, which must decide within fifteen days. And “if the Parliament has not decided within fifty days, the provisions of the bill can be implemented by ordinance”. Which has never happened before.
The government seems ready to give free rein to the discussion, planned in the social affairs committee from January 30 – perhaps even before – then in the hemicycle from February 6. If the committee does not have time to examine all the amendments, the PLFRSS will be able to go to the hemicycle.
For all these reasons, the left denounces a forced march review. “Even if LFI files 75,000 amendments, we can play it in twenty days. Vote or not, the text will go to the Senate and the LR senators will be able to amend a blank text, ”anticipates a minister. Decryption: if the Assembly does not adopt the text within the deadline, the government will refer its initial bill to the Senate, without the amendments of the deputies. Thus, there is not necessarily an overall vote of the deputies. “Skillful at avoiding a ’49-3′,” the majority say.
Is the use of “49-3” excluded?
“We are not entering the fray with the desire to take out the ’49-3′”, assured government spokesman Olivier Véran on Wednesday. The Prime Minister has used this article of the Constitution ten times to have the State and Social Security budgets adopted for 2023, for lack of a sufficient majority. “If you add to the deputies of the majority those of the Republicans, the absolute majority is assured”, predicted Olivier Véran.
The government can always resort to this weapon if the debates do not turn in its favor. But without touching his joker: the use of “49-3” not being limited on the budgetary texts, he will retain the possibility of using it for another bill by the end of the parliamentary session.
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