It is the conclusion of three weeks of fierce debates and compromises with the right: the National Assembly definitively adopted Thursday the second part of the package of measures in favor of purchasing power, before the Senate at the end of the day. For the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, it is “a political victory” and “the demonstration that we are moving forward”… but sometimes in pain.
A first test for the new method of the executive
Purchasing power was a key subject of the presidential campaign and constituted the first big piece of the mandate, in the form of a test for the “new method” of the executive, deprived of an absolute majority at the Palais Bourbon and which is turned to the right to fill in the voices.
After a first part validated on Wednesday including 20 billion euros in expenditure, it is the turn of the rectified draft budget for 2022 and its new batch of measures to deal with inflation to be submitted to the final vote. The National Assembly approved it by 292 votes for, 120 against and 98 abstentions. In addition to the majority, most LR deputies voted in favor, proclaiming themselves “the only opposition useful to the French”. RN elected officials abstained, arguing that they did not want to “hinder” the few “advances” made.
The senators approved the rectified budget for 2022 by 233 votes against 97, with the support in particular of LR, the centrists and the majority RDPI group En Marche. The left voted against.
The last stand of the left who voted against
The deputies on the left voted against, after a last stand from the Socialists via a final motion of rejection against the “crumbs” proposed. Referring to the abolition of privileges on the night of August 4, 1789, the boss of the LFI group Mathilde Panot asked on this anniversary date: “what is left of it?”, denouncing the “regeneration of a caste society”. During this last session, again stormy where the invectives flared up, the Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal criticized him for an “unfortunate drift of a certain left gone to the extreme”.
The draft budget opens up 44 billion euros in credits, including 9.7 to finance the 100% renationalization of EDF. Are programmed the revaluation of the point of index of the civil servants, the suppression of the audio-visual royalty, the continuation of the tariff shield on the energy and the discount fuel with 30 centimes the liter in September-October then 10 in November-December.
Common ground between the majority and the right
Between the presidential majority and the right, common ground was found on Wednesday evening in a joint joint committee, in particular on the controversial subject of monetization of RTTs, which the Senate wanted to perpetuate. This takeover by voluntary companies of the RTT of employees, for those ready to work more, will finally be possible until the end of 2025.
Regarding the exceptional back-to-school bonus, which the Senate wanted to reserve for low-income workers and not for social minima, which sparked an outcry on the left, there too a compromise was made. The bonus will be paid to the beneficiaries of the minima and also to those receiving the activity bonus.
“The return of working more to earn more”
In the eyes of MP LR Véronique Louwagie, “it’s the return to working more to earn more”, a slogan of Nicolas Sarkozy. For his favorable vote on Thursday at the end of the day, the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau had set the condition of maintaining another addition from the Senate, on the establishment of a biometric Vitale card. This was the case, to fight against fraud.
But there will be no tax on the “superprofits” of large groups, as demanded by the left, the extreme right and by certain centrists. Bruno Le Maire hammered home his opposition to the “Pavlovian tax reflex”. The idea of a supertax, already applied in Great Britain or Italy, and demanded by the Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres, had been revived by the net profit made by TotalEnergies in the second quarter, which more than doubled, to $5.7 billion. The debate should resurface in the fall.
500 million euros of added expenses
In the amending finance bill for 2022 there is also support for local authorities, with a total envelope ultimately estimated at 600 million euros. Bruno Le Maire tried to tighten the strings of public finances, but he had to give in several times after hiccups for the macronists in the Assembly, or votes against his will in the Senate. Some 500 million euros of expenses were added eventually.
The first part in favor of purchasing power, which got the green light from Parliament on Wednesday, includes the tripling of the ceiling of the Macron bonus that can be paid by employers, the 4% increase in pensions and several allowances , as well as the “deconjugalization” of the disabled adult allowance – added in a rare moment of consensus in the Assembly.
“It is the daily life of many fellow citizens that will be improved”, applauded Emmanuel Macron. “The culture of compromise is being built. This is what the French are asking of us”, according to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. These last elections on Thursday mark the break in work until the start of the school year. There will be no extraordinary session in September for the first time in twenty years, an illustration of the desire to better prepare the texts upstream.