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Argentina’s Congress Delays Vote on Milei’s Key Reform Proposals

In Europe
January 25, 2024

(Bloomberg) — Argentina’s congress delayed at least until next week a vote on President Javier Milei’s austerity measures due to lack of consensus on key proposals to raise taxes and change the country’s pension system.

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The so-called omnibus bill that includes hundreds of shock-therapy measures to address Argentina’s economic crisis was set to go to a vote on the floor of the lower house on Thursday, just one day after thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires to protest Milei’s plans.

But lawmakers’ unwillingness to back higher taxes on key exports of soy products, wheat and corn, as well as the proposed formula for increases in pension payments, led the ruling coalition to delay the debate, according to three members of congress who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The delay was first reported by La Nacion newspaper.

Debate on the measures is expected to resume next week, although an exact date hasn’t been set yet, according to the lower house’s press office.

“We hope it will be debated as soon as possible,” a spokesperson for Milei said.

Milei’s sweeping omnibus bill, which also seeks to privatize dozens of companies and expand his executive powers on economic matters, scraped by three congressional committees early on Wednesday. It was backed by 55 lawmakers, with 34 of them expressing partial disagreement, according to a statement from congress. That means most of them may still vote against the bill if its most controversial proposals remain unchanged.

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