Social reform: Disputes about citizens’ income are to be resolved in a fast-track procedure

social reform
Disputes about citizens’ income are to be resolved in a fast-track procedure

The Union has rejected Hubertus Heil's proposal.  Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

The Union has rejected Hubertus Heil’s submission. photo

© Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

It is to be the largest social reform of this electoral period. But a month and a half before the planned start, the citizen’s income has not yet been decided. Now everything depends on an evening session.

The argument about the planned citizen money is to be resolved in an evening session next week. The mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat, which is to find a compromise on the social law, will meet next Wednesday at 7 p.m., as the Bundesrat announced in Berlin.

According to the will of federal government the chamber of the federal states is supposed to finally discuss the citizen income law on the following Friday (November 25th). Citizens’ income is intended to replace the current Hartz IV system.

No majority in Federal Council

Among other things, the planned reform provides for higher standard rates and more detailed support for the unemployed. The Union had rejected the proposal by Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD), because those affected should be granted what they considered to be too much of a protective asset. In addition, according to the Union, they would have to fear fewer sanctions for breaches of duty in the future. As a result, the draft did not find a majority in the Bundesrat after it was Bundestag had already been decided.

The session of Mediation Committee are preceded by intensive talks on an informal level, according to coalition circles. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) is to chair the committee, as reported by the “Rheinische Post” (Online), among others.

Planned citizen income start January 1st

“Our positions on the basic security benefits are well known and differ significantly from the ideas of the federal government,” said the parliamentary director of the Union faction, Thorsten Frei (CDU), the “Rheinische Post”. “Especially when it comes to the possibilities of sanctions and the supposed immunity, we obviously live on two different planets.” The Union is considering resubmitting its application after only the standard rates are to be increased on January 1 and all other reform components are to be separated from them.

After the preliminary failure of the plans in the Federal Council, Heil called on all those involved to find “appropriate solutions” so that the citizen’s allowance could come into force on January 1st. Frei said: “It was the traffic light coalition’s decision not to initiate the reform until the very last minute.”

The Mediation Committee consists of 16 members each from the Bundestag and Bundesrat. A compromise would first have to be approved by the Bundestag and then by the Bundesrat. If there is no agreement in the mediation committee, according to the Basic Law, the Bundesrat will decide again on the draft law in its original version. If a law that requires approval does not receive the necessary number of votes in the Bundesrat after a maximum of three mediation procedures, it has finally failed.


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