The Government, weakened: without budgets and with fewer laws in process than the PP

The Government has given up preparing the Budgets for 2024, a reflection of the weakness and instability that is accompanying the coalition Executive in its first months of life. In fact, the XV Legislature, which turns seven months old this Sunday (since August 17), has already consumed almost 15% of the maximum four years it can have and, for the moment, the Government's legislative balance is rather poor: in addition to the refusal to prepare the Budgets due to the lack of support from the independentists and the transfer of the PSOE with the amnesty, it currently has fewer laws in process than the PP. The popular ones have already been able to process seven laws that have passed through the Plenary Session of Congress or Senate while Moncloa only has “progress” on five.

In total, the Government has 15 bills qualified in Congress (admitted for processing by the Board), of which there are two decrees that have been validated by the Plenary Session of the Chamber and are in the amendment phase. Two other bills that are already fully in process are the parity law, which had a full debate due to the amendment presented by Vox; and, the law that regulates higher artistic education, which has achieved a plenary “yes” to the opinion and is already heading to the Senate for final approval.

From there, the law to create the public health agency has achieved a boost since the Government managed to avoid amendments to the entirety at the last moment after threats from Junts and PNV. It can also be said that the draft organic law on the right of defense is beginning to appear at the door of processing, since it is in the Presentation phase, although there have not yet been any meetings. The rest of the legislative projects are directly in the amendment phase: that is, without having started the processing, without having reached the Presentation phase.

While the Government is storing bills, the PP is going one step faster and has already managed to process seven legislative initiatives: of all of them, six have come from the Senate and one from Congress. The Popular Party has an absolute majority in the Senate and is turning the Upper House into a bastion to promote parliamentary initiatives and to try to supervise the Government as much as possible (they have created a commission of investigation into the “Koldo case”).

In any case, the processing of these six laws in the Senate is not only due to the fact that the Popular Party has an absolute majority, since five have had the collaboration of PNV or Junts, key for the Congress phase. The success of a law requires a “yes” in Congress and Senate and the popular ones need the Basque nationalists or the post-convergents in the subsequent processing in the Lower House. That is to say, it is not enough to process laws in the Senate thanks to the absolute majority, but the popular ones have to garner more support so that these initiatives do not die in Congress.

The current legislature harbors a peculiarity: the PP is in the opposition despite the fact that it won and achieved an absolute majority in the Senate and that has given it a lot of legislative strength, while the PSOE has managed to take over the Government but at the cost of having a very fragile and unstable majority. Usually, the Government party usually has greater control in the Cortes (in both chambers), but the XV Legislature is going to be different and that seems to allow the legislative initiative to not be solely commanded by the Government.

At the moment, of the seven laws that the PP is already processing, there are six that seem to be able to come to fruition. There is only one that can remain without approval, which is the reform of the Penal Code to expand the cases of application of permanent reviewable prison, since both Junts and PNV voted against it when it was taken into consideration in the Senate. However, Junts also acknowledged that it would be willing to speak during the amendments phase to try to include changes, although these modifications point to other types of crimes (such as multiple recidivism, a problem that plagues certain corners of Catalonia).

Of the rest of the laws, the law for the comprehensive care of people with ALS in Congress stands out, without a doubt, a norm with a lot of weight because it is a social demand that has been placed at the center of the political agenda. In fact, the taking into consideration of the law (first parliamentary filter) generated consensus throughout the Lower House: there was unanimity on Tuesday and all parliamentary groups supported the initiative, which is now at the expense of processing in Congress, but which Everything indicates that it will go ahead and will be published in the Official State Gazette.

The other five laws coming out of the Senate have signs of succeeding because the PP has obtained collaboration from decisive parties, such as Junts or PNV. The first of these laws is the reduction of VAT for hairdressers (going from 21% to 10%), which attracted the support of Junts, PNV, Esquerra or Bildu: the only party that voted against was the PSOE. The second is a reform of the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities so that people who have some degree of dependency are automatically recognized as having a 33% disability: it also achieved the “yes” of Junts, PNV, Esquerra or Bildu and, in this case, the PSOE abstained.

The third is the “anti-squatter” law, which managed to overcome the abstention of Junts and PNV, enough for it to overcome the parliamentary process in Congress: this law is also very iconic because the squatting problem is a PP flag that unleashes a great confrontation with the block on the left. The fourth is the law for the recovery of the bonus of employers' Social Security contributions for businessmen in the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, which only obtained the vote against of one senator against (UPN). And, finally, the fifth is a reform of the Coastal Law to prevent certain homes near the beach from being demolished, an initiative that has gained the support of Junts while only PSOE and PNV have voted against.

In this way, while the Government renounces the Budgets and focuses all its efforts on approving the amnesty law (it is a law assigned to the PSOE parliamentary group), the PP takes the lead to try to give the green light to the first “law.” Feijóo” of the legislature. Right now, there are already seven in the pipeline.

During the last legislature, the Executive resorted a lot to decrees as a means of escape from parliamentary weakness, but everything indicates that this mechanism is going to be more complicated to use after the eventful parliamentary session of January 10: the Government carried out three decrees suddenly to validation and lost one. He managed to push through two, but in an agonizing way: and one of them seems to be advancing in its processing as a bill to introduce amendments due to Junts' demands.