Saturday, July 20, 2024

ARGENTINA | 13-07-2022 14:56

Javier Milei in Congress: Regular attendance, but an irregular voter

The deputy for La Libertad Avanza has missed only one of five sessions but passed up voting on half the occasions to date. Neither he nor his fellow-libertarian Victoria Villarroel have yet presented any bills and nor do they belong to any committee.

In his first seven months representing La Libertad Avanza in the lower house Chamber of Deputies, Javier Milei has only missed one session of the five so far – however, the economist and libertarian has skipped half the votes until now.

Neither has he presented a bill, nor signed up to a legislative committee.

In a very particular year for Congress, legislative activity in general has suffered due to multiple factors. But until now there have been five plenary sessions and 38 votes, many of them on bills key to development.

One of them was tax relief for employees, approved by the lower house in mid-June. Milei was not in  Congress that day because, as his entourage reminded Perfil, he had a "prior commitment" to travel to Colombia to give three lectures.

Of the 38 votes this year, Milei missed 19, according to the Chamber of Deputies database. It is worth mentioning that 10 of those votes were on the day of his absence while the rest are distributed among the other four sessions.

"There was only one session he missed, then he may have been absent from some votes but he was in Congress. Not all the 257 deputies are ever there for votes which are not key," Milei’s entourage explained to Perfil.

Strictly speaking, of the 19 votes he skipped according to the database, three were  motions of order or regulatory initiatives merely serving to organise debate.

Two key factors for evaluating the legislative performance of deputies and senators are their participation in committees and the bills on which they work.

On the first point, the libertarian deputy who has just raffled off his seventh monthly salary payment does not belong to any of the 46 House committees. His entourage argues that this is not a personal decision but the result of being squeezed out "in the jostling between Cambiemos and Frente de Todos.”

"He had made a request to be on the Budget, Finance and Agriculture Committees," they add. 

"Javier Milei and I both asked to join committees as indicated by the Chamber Regulations but neither the government nor the opposition would yield us a place so we don’t belong to any," said Victoria Villarruel, the other deputy for La Libertad Avanza.

Article 105 of the Chamber of Deputies regulations provides that deputies can be represented on committees without being members. Nevertheless, it stipulates that "they can attend meetings and take part in discussions but not in decisions nor sign committee recommendations."

Villarroel and Milei are the only two deputies who do not belong to any committee.

As for bills, there are three types – resolutions, prospective laws and statements. A deputy may be either firmante (author) or cofirmante (co-author).

According to the official statistics, Milei appears as a co-author in 17 initiatives – i.e. with no initiatives of his own until now.

Beyond that, he has signed, among other issues, a repudiation of a summons by the lower house  Gender Directorate to commemorate the anniversary of the abortion law, a bill to democratise trade unions, another to repeal the Anti-Hoarding Law and amendments to the Régime for Minor Taxpayers. 



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