Tensions emerge as LLA fails once again to get final version of Ley Bases in the Senate

Time is running out for the ruling party to get the bill approved before May 25, as President Milei intended

The opposition’s plan B of sending the Ley Bases back to the Chamber of Deputies for a second review gained ground on Monday after ruling party La Libertad Avanza (LLA) was unable to pass a final version of the bill and take it to a vote on the Senate floor. Political sources have already ruled out that they will be able to do so on Tuesday.

Union leaders Hugo Yasky (CTA) and Héctor Daer (CGT) — who had a strong argument with libertarian bloc head Ezequiel Atauche — were both seen in the Upper House.  The key issue, however, is that differences within the ruling party have emerged. 

LLA is now faced with the possibility that the Ley Bases will not be approved before May 25, the day on which Javier Milei intends to sign a 10-point long-term pact with provincial governors in Córdoba called the May Pact.

Deputy Chief of Staff José Rolandi has been carrying out frantic negotiations with the so-called “dialogist” opposition in order to introduce changes in the bill and avoid a new defeat in Congress for the government. 

The points under discussion are related to the Incentive Framework for Large Investments (RIGI, for its Spanish initials), and the issue of asset laundering, among others. In the first case, the Argentine Industrial Association (UIA, for its Spanish initials) is requesting the protection of small and medium companies, as well as local providers of extraction projects, something the government took note of.

While Peronist sectors grouped in Unión por la Patria (UxP) have reinforced their rejection of the bill and believe they can keep their 33 votes in the Upper House (although they acknowledge difficulties in getting the four extra votes needed to kill the bill), divisions within the ruling party have surfaced once again. 

“That happens because we are not working in tandem, something we had warned about before debate in the Chamber of Deputies had even started,” one LLA bloc member complained. “It’s complicated, not only because things drag on, but also because you start getting too many hands involved in the project,” they explained to Herald sister publication Ámbito. 

The ruling party is at a crossroads: either continue sweetening the deal, or stand firm and risk the bill getting bogged down in the back and forth.

Thus, following the General Legislation; Budget and Finance; and Constitutional Affairs committee meetings, Senator Bartolomé Abdala (LLA), in charge of leading the debate for the ruling party, has little hope of getting a final version of the bill on Tuesday. 

A new attempt will be made on Thursday, but the Casa Rosada is already moving forward to consolidate alliances in Deputies and redefine the May Pact based on observations made by some governors, without the approval of the Ley Bases. If the bill is not passed this week, there will be no time to do so before May 25.

The so-called friendly opposition, basically the UCR and senators allied to provincial governors, is also looking to change some sections, namely privatizations and the delegation of legislative powers, as well as other issues related to the reinstatement of income tax within the fiscal package. Other blocs demanded that the social security section also be modified.

Meanwhile, governors who are able to influence Senate votes are making specific demands for their provinces, mainly issues related to funding and the reactivation of public works that have been put on hold.

Originally published in Ámbito

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