“Hard to bear and irresponsible” – citizen money dispute – politics

After around one and a half hours of debate, the parties of the traffic light coalition on Thursday morning in Bundestag passed a bill to reform the social security system. Under the new model, known as citizen money, higher standard rates are provided, as well as milder sanctions for people receiving citizen money, even if they have not yet started a new job. The Union parties see the latter in particular as an incentive to relax at state expense. They are therefore threatening to block the government’s advance in the Bundesrat.

679 votes were cast, 385 of them for the citizens’ income bill. The complicated voting process caused confusion at first, and cheering in the ranks of the traffic light parties was slow to set in when the result was announced. 261 MPs voted “no” and 33 abstained – not enough to stop the law, which will now be passed to the Bundesrat. The traffic light maintains its desire to enact the bill as it stands by the turn of the year, but the opposition has other plans.

“It’s about people who are in existential need being protected reliably and as unbureaucratically as possible,” said Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). to open the debate before the vote. “But that’s not enough for us. We don’t just want to provide protection in times of need, we want to give opportunities for a self-determined life,” he added. Less pressure from the job centers is more effective in the medium term, since the long-term unemployed can, for example, catch up on professional qualifications instead of having to accept unskilled jobs, according to the argument of the traffic light coalition.

Union criticizes the approach as being too generous

In his answer Union faction deputy Hermann Gröhe criticized the draft law above all for a planned protective asset of €150,000, which a “needs community with two children” should be able to dispose of, and which should still be eligible for citizen benefit payments. “The majority of employees can only dream of such a fortune,” said Gröhe, who followed the line of his parliamentary group and the planned one citizen money as wasteful and full of perverse incentives.

In her speech, Britta Haßelmann, leader of the Greens parliamentary group, addressed CDU leader Merz, who in recent weeks had repeatedly dismissed citizen income as a bad and expensive idea and compared it to a kind of unconditional basic income. that the state cannot afford. “Such social coldness in times of crisis – almost unbearable and irresponsible”, like Hasselmann. “But here in Parliament he’s pinching today. It’s also easier to give interviews where nobody can disagree,” she said about Merz’s lack of a speech. If he had spoken, she would have “judged him sharply.”

The first parliamentary manager of the FDP, Johannes Vogel, even accused Merz to spread “alternative facts” by describing the first six months after the start of unemployment as a “six-month waiting period without sanctions”. “There are no sanction-free times in citizen money, but 80 percent of the sanctions will continue to be imposed in the first six months and then even the full constitutionally possible extent,” insisted Vogel, who admitted that the Greens wanted something else but would not have prevailed. “Anyone who spreads something else is spreading fake news,” says Vogel.

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