Lawmakers to hold first meeting of new bicameral commission

The commission could potentially discuss Milei’s mega-decree, but so far it will only meet to confirm its new members and name its authorities

Lawmakers will hold the first meeting of a congressional commission on Thursday that could discuss President Javier Milei’s controversial mega-decree, following a lengthy dispute over its composition under the new government.

The Permanent Bicameral Legislative Procedure Commission is a parliamentary body composed of members of both chambers. Its main purpose is to analyze urgent presidential decrees (known as DNUs in Spanish) and issue a verdict on whether they are valid or not.

The newly-appointed members will meet for the first time on Thursday to formally launch the commission and appoint its leaders. This commission could debate Milei’s mega-decree before it is addressed in a session.

Unlike the rest of the commissions in Congress, the Legislative Procedure Commission is supposed to be available permanently, including during summer recess. However, new members had not been appointed since the change of government in December. This meant it was unable to discuss Milei’s mega-decree before a 10-day debate deadline expired.

The commission can still debate the decree and reach a verdict for subsequent discussion in both chambers. It could also be debated in a session without passing through the commission. There is no deadline for these proceedings.

“The [Legislative Procedure Commission] could now meet and reach a verdict,” deputy and new commission member Ana Carolina Gaillard told the Herald. “But given that the 10-day deadline has already passed, the chambers could debate it without a verdict.”

The DNU has been in effect since December 29, although some sections have been annulled or temporarily suspended by the judiciary. Congress could overturn it if the majority of both chambers reject it in a session. Lawmakers cannot change the decree’s contents.

Vice President and head of the Senate Victoria Villarruel appointed eight senators to the commission a month ago, but President of the Chamber of Deputies Martín Menem, of ruling coalition La Libertad Avanza (LLA), did not confirm lower house appointments until this week.

The commission’s makeup proportionally represents the parties in Congress. The deputies named by Menem were Gaillard, Vanesa Siley, and Ramiro Gutiérrez from Peronist coalition Unión por la Patria (UxP); LLA’s Lisandro Almirón and Oscar Zago; Hernán Lombardi (PRO); Nicolás Massot (Hacemos Coalición Federal); and Francisco Monti (UCR).

The senators in the commission are Anabel Fernández Sagasti, Mariano Recalde and María Teresa González (UxP), Juan Carlos Pagotto (LLA), Víctor Zimmermann (UCR), Luis Juez (PRO), Juan Carlos Romero (Cambio Federal) and Carlos Espínola (Unidad Federal, UxP’s ally in the Senate).

On Tuesday, Menem wrote on X that he was “surprised by the ‘rush’ of some traditional parties’ representatives to proceed with the composition of the bicameral commission.” He suggested they had pushed proceedings through in a bid to overturn the decree. 

Gaillard responded that the commission cannot be left without members because it should be working permanently. “That was your obligation. And that’s why we protested,” she said.

Milei’s mega-DNU is a massive economic deregulation norm, unique in its scope. It declared a financial, fiscal, and administrative “emergency” in Argentina while overturning hundreds of laws protecting Argentine workers and consumers. This includes the repeal of the Rental Law and supermarket regulations, as well as an entire chapter that targeted the right to strike or receive severance pay, which was declared unconstitutional by a labor court.
The decree has been widely rejected by most sectors of the opposition and society, leading to the first Milei-era general strike less than two months into his presidency and dozens of protective writs against it, requesting the judiciary declare it unconstitutional for not complying with the main objective of DNUs: they should only be used for matters so urgent that they can’t wait to pass through Congress.


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