Pension reform: the executive’s plan to avoid obstruction in the Assembly

Pension reform the executives plan to avoid obstruction in the

Parliamentary procedure is a dry matter. Seasoned lawyers risk a migraine reading the regulations of the National Assembly or our fundamental law. But behind the law, politics is not far away. Determined to have its pension reform adopted quickly, the executive has chosen an unprecedented legislative vehicle. Like a cluster bomb, this solution will weigh on the debates… and the content of the text.

On paper, the choreography was ready. As in 2019, La France insoumise (LFI) intended to slow down the examination of the text with thousands of amendments in order to support social mobilization. The executive has adapted. For fear of obstruction, many concessions were made before the text arrived in the Assembly on February 6. This is the case of the extension of the revaluation of small pensions to all retirees. “The whole balance of the text is on the table”, summarizes a minister. Renaissance MPs were asked to limit individual amendments.

Parliamentary Guerrilla Specter

Three years ago, this guerrilla had forced Edouard Philippe to trigger article 49.3 of the Constitution, which does not have good press. Not sure that this scenario repeats itself. The postponement of the legal age to 64 years is not this time from an ordinary text, but from a bill of financing of the amending Social Security. This legal subtlety is crucial. Under Article 47.1 of the Constitution, the review of the reform will be limited in time. Parliamentarians will have fifty days to debate it.

At the Assembly, the deadline is twenty days. The text is then transmitted to the Senate, even in the absence of a vote by the deputies. Obstruction therefore cannot compel an exhausted executive to draw 49.3. On the other hand, it is an obstacle to a substantial modification of the government project during the session. “The obstruction, the thousands of amendments, it is useless!”, sighs a socialist.

Strategic retreat

In this war of movement, LFI is adapting. Forgotten, the promise of 75,000 amendments made in the fall by Mathilde Panot. The deputies wish to engage in a substantive debate and develop their counter-proposals. With the secret hope of creating heterogeneous coalitions against the government. “A blockage without 49.3 behind is not in their interest. On the other hand, social amendments could be adopted and hinder the executive”, breathes a Renaissance executive. The relative majority has already been outvoted in votes, why not this time?

The promises committing only those who believe in them, the oppositions do not exclude a heavy obstruction during the debates. “We want to soften the text. If the reform is adopted, it will be LFI’s fault if it is harsh”, warns the elected LR of Pas-de-Calais Pierre-Henri Dumont. “We will spend unnecessary time debating amendments tabled for obstruction, when we could have debated to limit the social damage of this text”, fears the RN deputy from Loiret Thomas Ménagé.

The Senate will then have fifteen days to adopt the reform. Here, no difficulty. The government copy is largely inspired by the reform of pensions voted in the Upper House since 2018. In the event of an agreement within the joint committee, a body bringing together seven deputies and seven senators, the National Assembly will decide during a solemn vote. A single vote of the deputies: that would arrange the affairs of LR, reluctant to exhibit the agreement with the presidential majority. “This will preserve us from divisions, notes an LR deputy. In addition, if the French are unsupported by blockages, we will have a greater capacity to vote on the text.” Everyone has their calculations.