Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Holdouts bill: Lower House marathonic session continues with rough debates
The government will seek to pass the “Normalization of public debt” at Lower House today, a bill brokered by Mauricio Macri's administration, aimed at putting an end to Argentina’s long-standing legal battle against so called “vulture” funds suing the country over its defaulted bonds more than a decade ago.
Earlier, the head of the FpV bloc Héctor Recalde requested to suspend the session and proposed to hold a popular referendum over the deal reached with holdout creditors. The request was rejected by 184 votes against 64 and three abstentions.
The debate at the floor follows a series of talks at the Lower House committees of Budget and Revenue last week when the government rallied enough support from the Justicialist and the Renewal Front blocs to discuss the project.
“Tomorrow, we will give quorum, (...) we lifted the requests to suspend the session that we had presented during the weekend,” the chief of the Justicialist caucus Oscar Romero said yesterday.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Renewal Front (FR), Sergio Massa, held a press conference on Monday saying the “strategy” of not giving quorum “is not part of this space,” adding they the FR members will be backing the debt bill.
“We agreed on a change (to the bill) to guarantee that the agreement is made within the framework of a serious law that gives guarantees," Massa said referring to last week’s ruling by the United States appeals court that put on hold a previous decision by Judge Thomas Griesa lifting injunctions that restricted Argentina from paying off some debts in light of the country’s US$6.5 billion offer to settle litigation over bonds in default since 2002.
The chief of the Let’s Change (Cambiemos) bloc, Mario Negri, said “the ruling of the Appeals Court has no impact” and that “there is no reason to delay the session because it is clear that in the fifth article that we will pay only when there is a firm sentence by the court.”
The Let’s Change coalition government headed by President Macri needs the support of other Lower House blocs to reach the 129 lawmakers that are needed to quick off the debate, which has been scheduled for 12 pm, and a majority to vote the bill because it only has 89 legislators of its own