Citizens’ money: Bundestag gives the green light for the planned traffic light law

Detachment from Hartz IV
Bundestag votes for Citizens’ Income Act – Union threatens blockade in the Bundesrat

"Citizenship is coming" can be read through glasses on the homepage of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

“The citizen’s income is coming” can be read through glasses on the homepage of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

© Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / DPA

The citizen money should come. SPD, Greens and FDP have approved the proposed legislation in the Bundestag – against resistance from the opposition. The Union is already threatening a blockade in the state chamber.

The Bundestag has launched the citizens’ allowance planned by the traffic light coalition. SPD, Greens and FDP voted with their majority for the law. In a roll-call vote, 385 MPs voted in favor of the law, 261 against – and there were 33 abstentions. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had previously clearly defended the project against criticism – while numerous politicians in the opposition expressed their displeasure with the social reform.

The Union, on whose approval the traffic light is later dependent in the Bundesrat for a final adoption of the citizen’s income, has repeatedly criticized the targeted departure from the previous Hartz IV system in recent weeks – and is still threatening a blockade in the regional chamber. In all probability, the Federal Council wants to deal with citizen income in a special session next Monday.

Heil defends citizens’ income: “Largest welfare state reform in 20 years”

It is the “biggest welfare state reform in 20 years,” said Labor Minister Heil. The reform should enable people to find a job perspective again after a long period of unemployment. Something is wrong in the system if people are only repeatedly placed in auxiliary activities instead of finding permanent work, explained Heil.

The Labor Minister harshly criticized the Union’s position. It was a “logical break” that the CDU and CSU now only wanted to agree to an increase in the standard rates instead of supporting the entire reform, said Heil. He campaigned again for approval in the Federal Council. As he had done several times before, Heil rejected the accusation that working with the new system would no longer be worthwhile in the future. “Work must be worthwhile,” he emphasized.

Several members of the Greens and FDP also expressed anger at the attitude of the Union faction. The parliamentary director of the FDP parliamentary group, Johannes Vogel, called it “schizophrenic and dishonest” that the Union was claiming that people with basic income would have more money in the future than low earners.

Union accuses traffic light government of arrogance

From the point of view of the CDU and CSU, however, the citizen’s income reduces the motivation to accept a job. The deputy chairman of the Union faction, Hermann Gröhe (CDU), accused the traffic light coalition of refusing any debate about the “weaving errors” of the law. “With this arrogance you will not advance the welfare state, with this arrogance you will fail!” said Gröhe.

The AfD and the left also criticized the legislative plans – albeit for very different reasons. The deputy AfD parliamentary group leader Norbert Kleinwächter said that in the future the basic income would mainly help people who were not willing to work. Left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch, on the other hand, made it clear that the reform plans were not enough to ensure a real departure from Hartz IV. The standard rates would be increased too late and are overall too low, said Bartsch.


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