Buenos Aires Times

economy THURSDAY

Congress: Gov’t coalition moves on immediate welfare reform vote

The government hopes to slash 100 billion pesos in spending (US$5.7 billion) with changes to quarterly adjustments to welfare payments.

Thursday 14 December, 2017
Budget committee president Luciano Laspina talks with a colleague during Tuesday's dramatic express hearing over the ruling coalition's welfare reform bill.
Budget committee president Luciano Laspina talks with a colleague during Tuesday's dramatic express hearing over the ruling coalition's welfare reform bill. Foto:Télam

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UPDATED: 'Pension reform vote fails during scandalous Lower House session'

The Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition will move to push its welfare reform bill through the Lower House tomorrow.

The move comes after a controversial express hearing at committee level on Tuesday which ended in a brawl, and after failed attempts by a coalition of opposition parties to stymie the reform.

Cambiemos needs a two thirds majority, or 140 votes. These will need to include a handful of Peronist lawmakers with ties to the 23 provincial governors who late last month signed on to a fiscal responsibility and tax distribution agreement with the national government.

The ruling coalition has a base of 132 votes. The Renewal Front-UNA, Victory Front (FpV)-PJ, Movimiento Evita and non-Peronist left parties have opposed the reform.

100b PESOS (US$5.7b) IN SAVINGS

The government of President Mauricio Macri hopes to slash 100 billion pesos in spending (US$5.7 billion) with changes to quarterly adjustments to welfare payments.

To date, the welfare office ANSES has calculated 50 percent of a person’s pension on the growth of wages and 50 percent on tax collection. Now, the adjustments will be composed of 70 percent inflation and 30 percent wage growth.

The opposition estimates that 17 million welfare recipients will be affected by the reform.

Pension expert Ismael Bermúdez explained to Clarín that a person on a 10,000 pesos per month pension would have received a 1,200-peso increase in March, 2018. With the reforms, that same adjustment drops to 570 pesos.

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