In a wink from Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to Sergio Massa in the new stage of the Frente de Todos that inaugurated its landing in the Ministry of Economy, the Senate begins to dust off various economic initiatives that have been sleeping in the upper house for months. This is the case of the Fiscal Consensus and money laundering for construction, two projects that have had an opinion for a long time and that, with the approval of the vice president, will be discussed in a special session that will take place this Wednesday. Unlike what happens with the expansion of the Supreme Court, both the fiscal pact and the money laundering have the support of a large part of the opposition, so it is discounted that they will be approved. In turn, in line with Massa’s request last week, a plenary session of commissions ruled on the promotion regime for the automotive industry, which already has half a sanction in Deputies and which the Minister of Economy intends to turn into law at the brevity. “We are going to accompany, we are not going to go against the new minister,” assured one of the main swords of the ruling party.
It will not only be the Chamber of Deputies –with Cecilia Moreau in the presidency– that will begin to work in tandem with the new Economy Minister, but the CFK itself –president of the Senate– is sending signals so that the Chamber high start to unlock several initiatives requested by Sergio Massa that were paralyzed for months. The first gesture in this regard was to convene a session for this Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., with a consensus agenda that had been previously negotiated with Together for Change. “We don’t have the number to do anything alone”, they anticipated early in the FdT interblock.
One of the first projects on the agenda is the fiscal pact that the national government signed with 21 provinces (only CABA, La Pampa and San Luis were left out) at the end of last year. The fiscal consensus enables the provinces to raise some taxes –such as the Gross Income and Stamps–, as well as create new ones –such as the Inheritance Tax–, and for months it has been sleeping in the Senate in expectation to be treated. It was the governors’ claim that expedited his treatment and led to his obtaining an opinion last week with the support of a large part of Together for Change. Governors Rodolfo Suárez (Mendoza), Gerardo Morales (Jujuy) and Gustavo Valdés (Corrientes), had signed the pact with the Executive last year, so, despite their campaign against raising taxes, it is discounted that Senators who respond to them will accompany them.
Another of the initiatives to be discussed this Wednesday will be that of construction incentives, a kind of money laundering exclusive to the sector that Massa had promoted in the Chamber of Deputies together with the head of the PRO block, Cristian Ritondo. During the press conference he gave on Wednesday, the Minister of Economy had asked Congress to move forward with the treatment of this project and, by way of response, the Senate responded by incorporating it on the agenda. If approved, the bill will become law. The same will happen with another of the initiatives on the agenda, the National Plan for the Prevention and Control of Antimicrobial Resistance, which was approved by Deputies at the beginning of July and will now be sanctioned.
At the same time, the Senate took the first step in approving another of the projects that Massa had requested: the promotion of investments in the automotive industry. During a plenary meeting of the Budget and Industry commissions, the ruling party advanced with the opinion of this initiative that already has half sanction and that contemplates tax benefits with the objective of promoting investments in all the links of the automotive value chain. “This bill is intended to declare the automotive sector a ‘strategic industry’, promote investment, strengthen its value chain, and also has a broad multiplier effect on employment and a strong export and innovative profile,” said the president of the Budget Commission, Ricardo Guerra (FdT), during the debate.
The FdT thus advances cautiously in the Senate, prioritizing Massa’s economic agenda –something that had never happened in the past with Martín Guzmán when he was Minister of the Economy– and waiting for the panorama of accessions to improve in order to advance in the court schedule. The project to expand the Supreme Court to 25 members is currently on standby due to the rejection of Alberto Rodríguez Saa and the inability of the FdT to add the votes it lacks to approve the initiative.