The original omnibus bill has been cut in half. Here’s what’s left.

Of the original 664 articles, just 366 have made it to the debate — but some articles targeting social protest and environmental protections remain intact

Argentina's Congress debates Javier Milei's economic deregulation omnibus bill. Source: Congress press office

Almost 300 articles have been pruned from President Javier Milei’s omnibus bill after intense negotiations between ruling coalition La Libertad Avanza (LLA) and opposition blocs. 

Pension reforms and some of the most controversial articles on protest have been axed — but the privatization of over 40 state companies, the stripping of environmental protections, and other aspects of protest legislation remain untouched. Here’s what’s still in there. 

Some of these articles could still be struck down later in the debate.

The most recent changes were agreed during a legislative commission session on Tuesday and announced Wednesday during the ongoing session. Other segments were removed over the past week, such as the elimination of the fiscal reform chapter and the delegation of legislative powers to Milei on fiscal, healthcare and pensions issues.

The changes also nix a portion that deregulated fishing regulations for foreigners in the Argentine sea, which had stirred conflict among governors.

However, the elimination of a large section of the security chapter targeting social protest and an article on the budget to protect native forests was a surprise.

Last week, the UN sent a document to the government asking it to revise articles in the omnibus bill and the security ministry’s anti-protest protocol regarding social protest, saying they violate human rights standards. Deputies have now eliminated six of those articles from the bill.

The social protest articles that were removed defined gatherings or protests as the temporary congregation of 30 people or more to protest, called for the security ministry to be notified of spontaneous protests as soon as possible for authorization, and created a legal definition of protest organizers.

“This is a brutal attack on the people’s right to organize and protest,” left-wing deputy Romina Del Plá told the Herald.

Controversial articles that would have changed how pensions were calculated and allowed funds used to pay for pensions to be transferred to the national treasury were also left out, as was one that raised some export duties and another that would have ended the PAIS tax at the end of 2024.

Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) deputy Martín Tetaz said removing those articles was “a brilliant decision,” adding that the changes were in line with the points the UCR rejected. The party plans to back the bill in general. 

“I think it’s important they decided to leave out the pensions modification, and there are improvements in the discussion of the rest of the articles,” he added.

What’s still in the bill

The privatization of 41 state-owned companies, one of the most controversial parts of the bill, was left untouched. This is a government priority — some LLA members had even threatened to call off the session if other deputies attempted to modify it. Like the rest of the articles, it could still be rejected or modified during the session, since most blocs don’t fully agree with it.

If the bill passes in the Lower and Upper Houses and there are no further modifications, Milei will have special powers to legislate over economic, financial, security, tariffs, energy and administrative issues until the end of 2024. Congress could extend that period for another year.

Most of the environment chapter was left untouched, including reforms to a law protecting glaciers, and broader permission to burn fields. However, several sources told the Herald that this part is likely to be rejected by most blocs, and could ultimately be removed.

Many sections targeting social protest were also left untouched, including those ordering march organizers to pay for damage incurred during the protest, prohibiting the presence of minors at protests, and requesting social movements to notify the Security Ministry 48 hours before a march. The ministry would still have the power to reject a march after they are notified.

“I am very worried about the privatization of over 40 state-owned companies, the government being allowed to take unlimited debt, and the environment chapter,” Unión por la Patria deputy Julia Strada told the Herald. “They want to bulldoze forests and glaciers for extractivism.”

Tetaz said that, while the bill is “much better,” the UCR will reject articles linked to the reform of culture laws and the Criminal and Commercial codes. “The privatizations discussion is still not settled, the final list of the companies that could be privatized is still being discussed.”

A source from LLA told the Herald that there is “widespread backing for the privatizations” and envisaged minor modifications of that section at most.


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