Despite the distractions of a scandalous session among lawmakers, Argentina’s Lower House passed three key social reforms on Wednesday.
Among a series of laws passed yesterday were the “Justina Law”, to automatically make all Argentine citizens over 18 years of age organ donors unless they formally request otherwise; the “Brisa Law”, to provide economic support to the children of deceased victims of gender-based violence; and a bill to urbanise the country’s shantytowns, known otherwise as villas miserias.
The session lasted a total 15 hours, with each of the three bills receiving broad support extending well beyond party lines.
However, the session turned ugly when firebrand lawmaker Elisa Carrió slipped up on previously-made statements that suggested the country’s middle-class had a moral obligation to support the economy by continuing to give tips to service staff and hiring informal workers like gardeners or cleaners.
“I wanted to make a clarification when I said that it was necessary to keep giving tips and bribes because I thought it was important”, she said.
The government-aligned lawmaker was then heckled and ridiculed by the opposition for her apparent misstep. However, Carrió fired back, taking aim at opposition lawmaker Agustín Rossi.
“I looked at you and was reminded of Rossi’s brother, that’s why the bribes came to mind”, she said. “It was a lapse”.
“Do you know what, you stupid progressives? You don’t know who the poor really are”, she charged.
Opposition lawmaker Graciela Camaño took aim at her counterparts in the Chamber saying it was “inappropriate that we heckle a lawmaker when she is speaking, no matter if we agree or not” with what that person is saying.
Prior in the day, a waiter in the city of La Plata claimed Carrió recently tipped him a meagre five pesos (0.17 US cents) for his service. Carrió confirmed the amount and said she had apologised to the waiter at time, telling him she had no more cash in her wallet.