The Economic Commission of the Chamber of Deputies decided to reject the veto entered by President Sebastian Pinera to the project that prohibits the cut of basic services in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
First, by 7 votes to 6, the parliamentary body declared the veto admissible, with the decisive vote of the independent Pedro Velasquez. However, when deciding on the content, with 6 votes in favor, 6 against and 1 abstention (from the UDI Joaquin Lavin Leon, son of the mayor of Las Condes and presidential candidate of the party), the commission dismissed it. Once again, an official vote was key to defeating a government project.
Now, the presidential veto of the basic services law passes to the Chamber, although it should be noted that the Commission’s decision is not binding but only a recommendation.
The vote opens a new unknown for the Government in a complex week for the Executive, after the approval of the project that allows the withdrawal of 10% of pension funds, and that this Wednesday must be settled in particular in the Chamber of the Chamber of Deputies.
“The veto hurts people”
In this project in particular, the Executive’s decision to veto the project – communicated last week – outraged the opposition and even surprised Chile’s congressmen Vamos who were waiting for the enactment of the initiative, dispatched more than a month ago by Congress.
In this sense, the promoter of the bill “Anticortes”, the deputy DC Joanna Perez was emphatic in declaring that “let’s say things as they are, here, the Government only seeks to defend the interests of large companies”.
He also added: “We value the rejection of the veto, but I think it could have been declared inadmissible, because it definitely departs from the parent idea because higher expenses would be approved for people, by transferring costs, and that is precisely the opposite of what this is looking for. law. This project was presented on March 18 and the Government has failed to understand. Let us not see the fate of this committee, today this project is not only inadmissible, that is why we regret that it was not declared so, but it has been rejected. ”
“The veto suppresses articles harming people, transferring costs, and also eliminates an essential article that benefited families, a solidarity connectivity plan where Minister Hutt worked with us,” he said.
Lastly, Deputy Perez stated that “I do not know what agreements the Government is working with companies, but this demand must be settled by law, with transparency, facing the public.”
For his part, the head of the PPD caucus and member of the Chamber’s Economic Commission, Raul Soto, highlighted the rejection of the veto, noting that “we regret that President Pinera insists on vetoing such a citizen-friendly project as this one. , which was widely discussed and transversally supported in Congress ”.
“We are very sorry because the President has had this project on his desk for weeks for it to be enacted, but he has chosen to be an obstructionist,” he added.
The Government’s explanation
However, according to the Executive, the veto does not introduce changes in terms of cuts and suspension of payments, because this is already contemplated in the agreement with the companies. The problem they point out is that “suspending the collection of accounts legally is complex because there is a risk that companies will claim that there is a public charge established by law and limitations on property rights, which could result in legal actions. that they seek compensation from the State, ”argues Segpres.
Basically, the project eliminates the considerations on the telecommunications sector that were in the norm dispatched by Congress, arguing that the industry is already delivering the free connectivity plan to the most vulnerable sectors as contemplated by law.
Likewise, the veto specifies in the matter of drinking water that those who adhere to the norm will only be able to postpone the payment of drinking water consumption up to 15 cubic meters. Although, households that prove to have more than four members may postpone the payment of up to four additional cubic meters per person.
In addition, it suggests eliminating the article of the project that establishes that companies are prohibited from recovering the costs caused by the implementation of the initiative through price transfer or in tariff processes, adding that “the costs will not be incorporated by companies no less by the respective regulators in the future tariff processes ”.