Crisis for Milei: omnibus bill sent back to commissions over lack of support

In an unexpected blow to President Javier Milei, progress on his flagship bill was reversed after deputies unexpectedly sent it back to the legislative drawing board

by Facundo Iglesia and Valen Iricibar

Argentina’s Lower House unexpectedly cut short what was expected to be a marathon debate on President Javier Milei’s Omnibus Bill, sending the entire bill back to commissions. The move means that prior progress — including being approved as a whole on Friday — has been voided after weeks of intense negotiations.

When they reached the privatization chapter, LLA Deputy Gabriel Bornoroni asked for a 15-minute recess which lasted more than 45 minutes. The session resumed and Oscar Zago, head of the LLA bloc, asked that the whole project be sent back to the commission, a motion that was approved immediately. 

Earlier on Tuesday, deputies had approved articles that would have given certain legislative powers to the president if the bill had been approved by the Senate. However, since it’s getting booted back to commissions those votes are now void, per Article 155 of the Lower House protocol.

Opposition lawmakers began chanting No hay ley (“There’s no law”), celebrating the reversal of the bill. Minutes after the session was lifted, LLA posted a message on its official X account. 

“Treason has a high price and La Libertad Avanza will not allow governors to blackmail the people to keep their privileges,” they said, confirming that the bill will return to commissions. They added the hashtag #LaCastaContraElPueblo — “The caste against the people.”

However, sources within LLA told the Herald that the move wasn’t a surprise. “El Loco [the madman, Milei’s nickname] is like that, you can’t understand him. He is capable of sending everything to square one and accusing [the governors] of being traitors. I don’t know what the balance will be, to be honest.”

According to the same source, the main disagreement was federal tax shares: specifically the allocation of the PAIS tax revenue to the provinces. Sixteen governors had suggested a 30% share for the provinces last week in a meeting with Interior Minister Guillermo Francos. “Javier [Milei] won’t do that,” they added.

Privatizations were another point of contention between the provinces and the national government in the previous negotiations. Córdoba’s Peronist deputies, for example, celebrated that they had secured that no state-owned enterprises made it to the list of companies subject to privatization.

The Omnibus Bill proposes to deregulate vast swathes of the Argentine economy and declares a public emergency in economic, financial, security, tariff, energy, and administrative issues until December 31. It also delegates to Milei the power to legislate on those issues for the same period.

After the session was lifted, Francos told the TN news channel that LLA thought they had enough votes to pass the bill. “We understood there was a confirmation that […] the law would pass,” he said. Francos said that the deputies did not give him the faculties to act in the current emergency.

“We will continue to govern with popular support and without the parliament,” Francos warned.

You may also be interested in: Privatization & Milei’s power to legislate: 2 omnibus bill sticking points


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