Budget scrutiny begins in assembly in pain in the shadow of 49.3
The presidential camp suffered a first defeat Wednesday in the Assembly’s consideration of the 2023 budget, under the increasingly clear shadow of a triggering of Article 49(3) of the Constitution.
The opposition managed to reject the “introductory” article of the Finance Law (PLF) in the first reading by 192 votes to 175, in which the main objective appeared to keep the public deficit at 5% of GDP in 2023.
“They have joined forces, Nupes, National Rally, LR, to take France any course,” criticized Finance Minister Gabriel Attal.
Just before the opening of the Palais Bourbon session, the Council of Ministers authorized the government to activate the famous Article 49.3, a constitutional weapon that allows a text to be adopted without a vote, except for a motion of no confidence.
LFI deputy Eric Coquerel, chairman of the finance committee, immediately denounced “extortion by 49.3”.
“We are already seeing the sword of Damocles dawning,” added Socialist leader Boris Vallaud MP. “How long are you staying for the parliamentary debate?” he asked the government.
Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire assured us that “we will take all the necessary time” for a “profound debate”, even if “there will come a time when there will have to be a budget for France“. According to him, the government will then “take its responsibility”.
Too expensive for the right, ‘austerity’ for the left, ‘subject to’ Brussels according to RN: The opposition has ruled out backing this budget, whose flagship includes €45 billion in ‘tariff protection’ increases in regulated gas and electricity prices to 15 limit %.
It also provides for an increase in teaching staff or the creation of more than 10,000 civil servant posts, including 3,000 police officers and gendarmes.
– modem change accepted –
Although the use of 49.3 now seems certain, the presidential camp is torn between not wanting to appear closed to the debate and wanting to “shorten the suffering” in the face of opposition that “will vote against anything”.
As they wait for the ax to fall, the only relative majority available to Macronists is forecasting voting defeats.
After rejecting the rejection of the “introductory” article, the assembly in the evening passed other articles of the government text without incident, such as the one aimed at taking inflation into account in the calculation of income tax or another aimed at improving withholding tax .
Left-wing changes to make income tax “more progressive” have been pushed back. Just like those of the RN, who propose “exemption from income tax for every young Frenchman under the age of 30 who receives less than 2,000 euros net”.
On the other hand, against the government’s opinion, the deputies approved a change in the modem that creates the status of a real estate investor. The latter would allow the flat rate levy (PFU) on real estate income to be elected in return for obligations on the part of the owners regarding the length of the lease and the energy efficiency of the accommodation.
– What text was adopted by 49.3? –
“If we manage to change your budget within two or three days, will you respect the national representation?” asked the rebel Alexis Corbière, urging the government to say clearly whether the text it is drafting by 49 3 would assume the consecutive votes would take into account the Assembly.
The government has full leeway on this point. “We can go back to the original text, withdraw accepted amendments, include amendments not yet discussed,” recalls a Renaissance parliamentary source.
On Tuesday, the Macronists had already gotten a taste of the risks posed to them by the lack of an absolute majority when another budget text was dispersed by the opposition.
Indeed, several key articles of the Budget Planning Law 2023-2027 were rejected at first reading by the opposition, which was hostile to the text for often diametrically opposed reasons.
If the majority managed to bring the deficit reduction trajectory below 3% by 2027, they suffered a series of article rejection, such as
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