Sánchez achieves the yes of Congress to the Budgets and gives free rein to new taxes and to eliminate the crime of sedition

The Government faced this Thursday a triple acid test in Congress: the approval of the General State Budget (PGE) by 2023, taking into account the Penal Code reform and the approval to new taxes on banks, energy companies and large fortunes. The first passed it with a large majority (187 votes in favour) and thanks to the pacts with Bildu and PDeCat; the other two also made their way after a bitter debate thanks to the support of government partners.

The yes to the Accounts secures the majority of the investiture and achieves an unusual milestone in recent years: they are the third consecutive PGE of the coalition, something that has not happened in Spain since 2015, when the legislature ended in which Mariano Rajoy (PP) governed with an absolute majority of 186 deputies. They will now go to the Senate. Despite being in the minority (PSOE

and Unidas Podemos add up to 153 deputies), the Government obtained the support of ERC, PNV, EH Bildu, PDeCAT, C. Canaria, Más País, Compromís, PRC and that of Meri Pita, a former deputy of Unidas Podemos who is currently in the Group Mixed. The PP, Vox, Ciudadanos and the deputies expelled from UPN voted against. Also, Teruel exists.

“It’s the victory of understanding“, celebrated the president Pedro Sanchez in a recess after the vote, and thanked the 10 parties that “represent 12 million voters and that made their victory possible, which is no less expected. Socialist sources recall that in March “nobody gave a penny” because Should there be Budgets again, however, the turn to the left given by Sánchez in the summer after the socialist debacle in Andalusia was consolidating the progressive bloc in Congress.

The socialist bench applauds standing after the approval of the PGE.  In the front row: President Pedro Sánchez, Vice President Yolanda Díaz and the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero.

Although he has had to make important transfers. In the case of ERC, the PSOE has agreed to suppress sedition from the Penal Code and to replace it with the criminal type of aggravated public disorder, with a reduction in sentences, an initiative that was voted on later in plenary session. The Republicans have also agreed with the Government on the transfer by the State to the Generalitat of 900 million euros for infrastructure.

Similarly, for Bildu’s ‘yes’, the Government has agreed to extend the 2% limit for updating the rental income and the 15% increase in non-contributory pensions. Sánchez will also return to Navarra the exclusive competence of Traffic and Road Safety; this has stirred up the opposition.

Suppression of the crime of sedition

On the other hand, the Government managed this Thursday to go ahead with the consideration in the Chamber of one of the key initiatives for the approval of the PGE – due to the aforementioned agreement with ERC -: the suppression of the crime of sedition. United We Can, in fact, promised to “go further” with respect to other crimes, still in doubt

if this reform will also reach embezzlement.

The PSOE spokesman in Congress, Patxi López, talks with Gabriel Rufián, from ERC.

The president, Pedro Sánchez, avoided clarifying before the journalists if it will finally be carried out, but he left a loophole by stating, as he has maintained in recent weeks, that this now corresponds “to

parliamentary processing”, alluding to the proposal

of law presented by PSOE and UP to eliminate the crime of

sedition, to which would be linked. Sánchez explained that his will is to standardize the Penal Code “to the standards of European democracies” and said that even if embezzlement were reformed, Spain has the article 155 to face “any attempt to violate the constitutional order”.

The parliamentary debate was riddled with duels at will. The PSOE against the PP –and vice versa– and Unidas Podemos against Junts; Little legal debate. As soon as he got on the platform, the socialist deputy Paco

Aranda criticized the popular for not renewing the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) and insisted that the Penal Code is a new wording that is “approved” to countries around us. The spokesman for Unidas Podemos, Jaume Asens, was the one who opened the door to a broader reform, an aspect that Gabriel Rufián (ERC) did not expressly mention, but he did point out that the suppression of sedition “is not a concession nor to ERC nor to independence”. “I wish it was.” For its part, the PP fired artillery. His spokesperson Cuca Gamarra, accused Sánchez of reforming the Criminal Code “at the dictation of Oriol Junqueras and to the measure of the coup leaders” to stay in the Moncloa.

new taxes

Finally, Congress approved the temporary taxes on banks, energy companies and large fortunes, which will be collected in 2023 and 2024 charged to previous years to deal with the current inflationary context. Now they will also go to the Senate.

The Government initially had a large majority supported by the votes of the coalition and those of most of its usual allies (ERC, EH Bildu, Más País or Compromís), while PP, Vox and Cs positioned themselves against . The only blur was the announced abstention of the PNV, very close to some energy companies. The group spoke of “technical deficiencies” in the levies, while acknowledging that companies with windfall profits must “pitch their shoulders.”

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero.

The speeches of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos followed this line. The first recalled in the chamber that this year a decade has passed since the bank bailout which was never paid back in full; united

Podemos, for its part, stressed that the proposed taxes are intended, among other things, for “those who benefit from a calamitous situation to help and pay.”

ERC and EH Bildu were also satisfied, who unwaveringly supported the increase in the tax burden “for companies and banks that have seen their profits grow to shameful limits.” The PP branded the proposal as “terrifying” and said that his measures “attack savings and

to investment and discourage anyone from investing in Spain”.

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