December 11, 2020
1. Government offers summary of first year in office
Following one year in office, President Alberto Fernández summarized the measures taken by his administration to tackle the pandemic and renegotiate the country’s foreign debt with private creditors. In this sense, Fernández recognized that “although we did not elect it, it’s what we have to deal with.” Through an open letter, Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner expressed her views on the work done by the Senate she presides over and criticized the Supreme Court.
2. Senate passes law taxing wealthiest Argentines
Following an eight hour legislative session, the Senate passed a measure that will tax fortunes of over ARS $200 million (USD $2.4 million) in a bid to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill received 42 votes in favor of 26 against. The measure will secure ARS $300 billion (USD $3.65 billion) for the government and will affect approximately 10,000 people. Additionally, the amount collected will fund the purchase of healthcare equipment, support small and medium enterprises, housing for poorer neighborhoods, finance the Progresar plan, and other government initiatives.
3. Provinces, national government reach fiscal agreement
President Alberto Fernández signed the new fiscal pact alongside Interior Minister Eduardo “Wado” De Pedro and 21 of Argentina’s 24 provincial governors. The agreement, which will replace the pact passed in December of last year, will allow provinces to interrupt the decrease in taxation promoted by the previous administration. Additionally, the initiative prevents governors from from adding to their debt in foreign currency throughout 2021. The pact will now head to Congress and provincial legislatures for final approval. It is worth noting that, in the framework of the dispute between the national government and provinces over additional removals of his district’s stake in co-participatory tax revenue, Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta rejected the invitation and did not attend.
4. President Alberto Fernández finalizes COVID-19 vaccine agreement with Russia
On Thursday, President Alberto Fernández and Health Minister Ginés González García announced the finalization of an agreement with Russia to receive 20 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the president announced that 300,000 Argentines would be vaccinated by year’s end, and that 10 million could be vaccinated by the end of March. The agreement with the Russian Federation adds to another agreement struck by the government with AstraZeneca, which is developing the Oxford vaccine.
Ámbito Financiero: Alberto Fernández anunció que la vacuna rusa llegará antes de fin de año
5. The Chamber of Deputies approved the legalization of abortion bill
On Friday morning, the Chamber of Deputies approved the project of Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (IVE), with 131 votes in favor, 117 against and 6 abstentions. This is a bigger difference than the June 2018 vote, when the margin was four votes. This way, the bill will have to be debated in the Senate, where the proposal was rejected in 2018. In addition, the Lower House gave half approval to the National Bill of Attention and Integral Health Care during Pregnancy and Early Childhood (“Program of the Thousand Days”) that establishes an integral protection of women and newborn children. In this case, the initiative received 196 votes in favor, none against and 5 abstentions.