Budget: the government commits 49.3 in the financial bill for 2023

The finance bill, the key text that must be examined every autumn and passed before Christmas, forms the basis of government policy. Traditionally, the deputies of the majority vote “for” and the elected representatives of the opposition vote “against”. With no absolute majority in the National Assembly, the equation promises to be particularly complicated for the executive this year.

Therefore, before starting the examination of the budget on October 10, the government did not hide that it plans to invoke Article 49.3 of the Constitution if it is necessary to pass the financial bill without distortion. parliamentary debate. This constitutional provision allows the government to take responsibility for the bill.

From that moment, if no motion of no faith is proposed by the opposition, the text is considered adopted without a vote. In this case, two protest proposals were announced: one by the groups of the New People’s Ecological-Social Union, and the other by the National Rally group. In order to overthrow the government, the censorship proposal must be approved by an absolute majority of the members constituting the Milli Majlis. Since the beginning of the Fifth Republic in 1958, only one motion of protest has been passed, that was in 1962.

Budget: schedule and procedure

The main thing is that the examination of the financial bill is carried out according to a special procedure and schedule. In terms of form, the budget is presented and examined in two parts:
– First, it provides for state revenues and allows the collection of taxes.
– The second part, which deals with expenses, determines the amount of credits for each of the missions in the budget and the upper limit of the authorizations for employment by the ministry.

In terms of legislative procedure, among other features:
– The financial bill is systematically examined in the “accelerated procedure”, which means that after one reading in the National Assembly and the Senate, a joint committee of deputies and senators is convened, while in the classic procedure, this committee is convened. after two readings in each assembly. If no agreement is reached in the CMP, a new service takes place between the Palais Bourbon and the Palais du Luxembourg, then the final word goes to the National Assembly for a final reading.
– Unlike other texts, the debate in the first reading in the open session in the Milli Majlis does not refer to the text adopted by the Finance Committee, but to the text presented by the government; likewise, for other readings, the debate is not on the committee’s text, but on the text transmitted by the other assembly.

Exact schedule:
– The financial bill of the year must be submitted to the office of the National Assembly, which has constitutional superiority over the Senate, by the first Tuesday of October. For several years, the actual filing takes place in the last week of September.
– Parliament has 70 days to decide on the financial bill: 40 days for the first reading in the National Assembly, 20 days for the first reading in the Senate, 10 days for the parliamentary service. After this period, if the supermajority belongs to the Parliament, the government can apply for an executive order. work financial bill.

This year, the first part of the budget will be examined in the hemisphere in the first reading from Monday, October 10 to Wednesday, October 19, with a ceremonial vote on Tuesday, October 25. On October 27, the deputies will begin the examination of the second part of the text with a ceremonial vote at the end of the entire financial bill scheduled for November 15. Table 49.3, which does not take into account possible and more likely.

49.3 on the budget, a first in 30 years

For 30 years, all governments have had an absolute majority in the National Assembly, which has ensured that they can pass finance bills without invoking Article 49.3 of the Constitution. Michel Rocard, Edith Cresson and Pierre Bérégovoy, who did not have an absolute majority at the end of the 1988 legislative elections, are the last prime ministers to use 49.3 to check all or part of the budget. In 1989, Michel Rocard thus used this constitutional provision five times in the context of the budget:
– The text should be adopted twice in the first reading of the text in the Milli Majlis: once the first part of the budget (revenues), and once the second part of the budget (expenses), as well as the entire text.
– In the Milli Majlis, as well as in the first reading, twice in the second reading.
– Once during the final reading of the entire text in the Milli Majlis.
Given the current configuration of the Palais-Bourbon, Elisabeth Borne’s government can also use 49.3 five times during the budget procedure.

Since 1958, 49.3 has been used 18 times to pass a finance bill at one stage or at each stage of consideration in the National Assembly. The last use of 49.3 in budget debates was on November 18, 1992 by Pierre. Beregovoy was the prime minister.

Without an absolute majority and without an alternative majority, Elisabeth Borne’s government will therefore use 49.3 for the first time since 1993 as part of an examination of a finance bill. In addition to the groups of the New People’s Ecological and Social Union and the National Rally group, which have no doubts that they will oppose the budget, the Les Républicains group has also declared its intention to vote against the financial bill. “We will vote against this budget, we will not abstain“, thus indicated echoes Olivier Marleix, president of the LR deputies. “France cannot do without a budget“, Gabriel Attal, Representative of the Minister for Public Accounts, emphasized in an interview. Sunday newspaperadmitting from the outset that “little doubt“about the need to use 49.3.

49.3, how does it work?

Until the 2008 constitutional reform, the government could use Article 49.3 as it saw fit. Since that date, its use has been limited to one text per parliamentary session, except for budget texts. For the finance bill, as well as the Social Security financing bill, which is essential to the functioning of the country, the government therefore reserves the option of invoking 49.3.

As of Wednesday, October 12, government spokesman Olivier Veran said that the Council of Ministers “the possibility of using 49.3 was discussed if the situation required“. From that day on, Elisabeth Borne has the possibility to formally call her government responsible for all or part of the financial bill. After the triggering of Article 49.3, the deliberations in the hemisphere will cease immediately. : text will be. 58 deputies (at least) 24 in the current configuration of the Assembly, Le Rassemblement national (89 deputies), La France insoumise (75 deputies) may be supported by allies Nupes, as well as Les Républicains (62 deputies). can do.

The petition cannot be investigated less than 48 hours after it has been brought up for discussion, after which it must be discussed on one of the three meeting days. In order to be accepted, it must be approved by an absolute majority, that is, by 289 deputies. An assumption that seems unlikely at this stage, as the New People’s Social and Environmental Alliance, the National Rally group, as well as the Republican groups, all assume they will vote on the same criticism motion to cancel the election. government.. Both already exclude what.

What will remain of the budget discussions?

At the current stage, according to our information, the executive power has given the green light to about a hundred amendments to the financial bill, worth 700-800 million euros, consisting of the majority and some of them the opposition.
Among the measures adopted: strengthening the tax credit for childcare, reducing the tax for small businesses and eliminating the tax benefits enjoyed by private jets. On the other hand, the leftists, the National Rally and 19 Renaissance MPs voted against the inclusion of the MoDem amendment to tax “superdividends” – against the government’s advice. The same was voted with objections to an amendment adopted at the meeting, which would have to be paid by all residents of nursing homes, which was considered too expensive, as well as introducing a tax credit to recover the exit tax.

49.3, whose use should be announced Wednesday afternoon, probably will The first of a long series leading up to the final adoption of the budget in mid-December. In addition, the government must also refer to this constitutional provision – perhaps by the end of the week – for another text: the Social Security funding bill, which is scheduled to be debated in the House of Assembly on Thursday morning.

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