Negotiations between the government and the opposition over proposed reforms to income tax policy have been something of an emotional roller. Over the span of a little over 24 hours, the political battlefield has completely shifted three times: yesterday morning it seemed like the opposition, led by Renewal Front Sergio Massa, would manage to pass its own project at the Macri administration’s expense.
Twelve hours later the tables turned after the Macri administration reached an agreement with most Argentina’s provincial governors — and consequently the senators from the provinces — to not debate the project on the Upper House floor, giving the Macri camp the upper hand to draft a project that would satisfy everyone and allowed it to dodge a major political defeat at the same time.
However, calm at the Casa Rosada — or at least a feeling that the world wasn’t going to end — lasted less than 24 hours because in a session this afternoon the leader of the FpV-PJ caucus in the Senate, Miguel Angel Pichetto, requested the opposition’s original project be sent to the floor next Wednesday despite the fact that it wasn’t approved by the budget special committee yesterday.
This is a legitimate legal tool which, by bypassing the committee, requires the bill to need two thirds of the senate’s votes instead of the usual half plus one. But since opposition senators hold a wide majority in the chamber, this wouldn’t represent a challenge.
The request, then is a move that seems to aim at pressuring the Government to speed up the negotiations. According to Infobae, Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña statement at a press conference today that “what’s most important is the will to reach an agreement, without setting a deadline,” didn’t go down well among the opposition, with key members interpreting this as a message saying Macri’s administration was not in a rush to pass the reform. Prompting the opposition to ask for a decision to take place by next week.
It looks like the ball is back in the Macri’s court.