- Title: ARGENTINA: GOVERNMENT'S KEY AUSTERITY BILL HAS BEEN PASSED BY CONGRESS
- Date: 1st August 2001
- Summary: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (JULY 30, 2001) (REUTERS) 1. SLV EXTERIOR OF CONGRESS (NIGHTSHOT) 0.08 2. HAS SENATORS DEBATING (3 SHOTS) 0.17 3. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) OPPOSITION SENATOR, JOSE LUIS GIOJA, SAYING "This has to be done as a patriotic duty, completely conscience of the implicit risks that we Argentines would take if we do it." 0.32 4. HAS SENATE VOTING (6 SHOTS) 0.52 5. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) OPPOSITION SENATOR, JORGE YOMA, SAYING "Beginning now, unfortunately, public employees and retirees will not know what they will receive at the end of the month, it depends on what the Economy Ministry decides depending on a tax collection hypothesis. The same uncertainty applies to family salaries and pensions. It is shameful what has happened today." 1.15 6. SLV EXTERIOR OF CONGRESS (DAYSHOTS) 1.20 7. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) UNIDENTIFIED MAN SAYING "It gives the impression that there will be more recession. It is a vicious circle: more cuts, less spending and it enters into a vicious circle that apparently we will not get out of." 1.32 8. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN SAYING "I no longer have confidence in this or any other government, I don't have confidence in democracy, I don't have confidence in politics, I don't have confidence in anything." 1.39 9. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) UNIDENTIFIED MAN SAYING "I have been voting since 1961 and they have always lied to me, they have always said: Argentina will take off and I imagine Argentina as a great plane that taxis permanently, so, since I can't beat them, I exclude myself. Before I watched the game from the stands, now I have left the stadium and I don't even know what game they play." 2.05 10. SLV RETIREES AND UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE PROTESTING AGAINST ECONOMIC MEASURES (5 SHOTS) 2.29 11. MV ARGENTINE CHIEF OF STAFF, CHRYSTIAN COLOMBO, ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE WITH FOREIGN PRESS; MV MEDIA (3 SHOTS) 2.39 12. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) COLOMBO SAYING "We believe that the best way to recover confidence is to honor our promises and we will take all the fiscal measures necessary to do it." 2.53 13. SLV DEMONSTRATION PASSING IN FRONT OF ARGENTINE STOCK MARKET, BUSINESSMEN WATCHING OUT WINDOW (2 SHOTS) 3.07 14. SLV/MV ARGENTINE STOCK EXCHANGE ACTIVITY (6 SHOTS) 3.33 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 16th August 2001 13:00
- Location: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
- Country: Argentina
- Reuters ID: LVA19J0JTHSC4LO0SJRS7IOJ1NGO
- Story Text: The Argentine government's key austerity bill has been
finally passed by Congress in a move seen as crucial to
allaying fears of a debt default and helping the sickly
economy clamber out of crisis.
After an all-night debate, the opposition-dominated
Senate approved the Argentine government's unpopular bill to
end deficit spending and slash state salaries and some
pensions by up to 13 percent, in an eagerly-awaited predawn
vote on Monday (July 30).
International markets from London to New York rallied on
the back of the belated passage of the bill, mired in the
Senate since last week amid intense talks between the
government and the main opposition Peronists.
The stalled debate had transfixed investors amid fears a
meltdown in Latin America's No. 3 economy and the region's
biggest sovereign debt borrower could rock the global economy
and spark the kind of regional spillover seen after Mexico's
1995 peso crisis.
President Fernando de la Rua's center-left coalition
government had pressed for his austerity plan to calm investor
fears of a default on the nation's $128 billion debt by
slashing public spending to no more than tax revenues.
"We believe that the best way to recover confidence is to
honor our promises and we will take all the fiscal measures
necessary to do it," said Cabinet Chief Chrystian Colombo, who
had anxiously watched the start of the debate from a gallery
with other top officials -- a sign of just how much was at
The government has lurched from crisis to crisis after a
$40 billion aid package in December and a multibillion debt
swap earlier this year failed to restore confidence in an
economy trying to grow out of a three-year rut.
Investors welcomed the Senate's thumbs up, saying the
government finally showed signs of the political cohesion that
markets say is needed to achieve a "zero deficit" budget.
But there was little solace for the man on the street, who
feels the nation's poorest have been given a raw deal and that
there is a long recession in store thanks to the bill, which
has already prompted strikes in a land with unemployment of
16.4 percent and a third of the population living in poverty.
"I no longer have confidence in this or any other
government, I don't have confidence in democracy, I don't have
confidence in politics, I don't have confidence in anything,"
said one woman.
"More cuts, less spending and it enters into a vicious
circle that apparently we will not get out of," added one
In a show of displeasure with the cuts, the opposition
Peronists sent only enough Senators to give the bill a quorum.
However, providing quorum showed the Peronists recognized the
importance of the bill for Argentina's future.
"This has to de done as a patriotic duty, completely
conscience of the implicit risks that we Argentines would take
if we do it," said opposition Senator Jose Luis Gioja.
If the Senate had insisted on changes in the bill's
details, it would have had to return to the lower house for
another final vote, a move which would have likely seen
Argentina's punished stocks and bonds hammered.
The Argentine economy ministry meanwhile denied reports
Cavallo was poised to head to Europe to seek additional loan
commitments and ask lenders including the International
Monetary Fund for early aid disbursements.
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