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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Vote: Bundestag decides citizen money | STERN.de

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Citizens’ income clears the first hurdle in the Bundestag. A highly emotional debate ensues. Now it boils down to a search for a compromise in the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

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The Bundestag has launched the citizens’ allowance planned by the traffic light coalition. The SPD, Greens and FDP voted in favor of the law on Thursday with their majority. In a roll-call vote, 385 MPs voted in favor and 261 against. There were 33 abstentions. Citizens’ income is to gradually replace the current Hartz IV system at the turn of the year. However, this still requires approval in the Bundesrat, which is expected to decide on Monday. The Union has threatened to block citizen’s income there because it believes it reduces motivation to take up work.

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After the debate in the Bundestag, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) campaigned for approval in the state chamber. “If that doesn’t work, there is still a chance, namely the possibility of getting results in a speedy mediation process.” But you have to be ready by the end of November at the latest so that the citizen’s income can come into force on January 1st. The mediation process means a search for compromise in the joint mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

Strong criticism of the project

In the Bundestag plenary, representatives of the traffic light coalition and the opposition fought verbal battles before the final vote. The deputy leader of the Union parliamentary group, Hermann Gröhe (CDU), accused the traffic light coalition of refusing any debate about the “weaving errors” of the citizens’ allowance law and of ignoring criticism of the reform from other places, such as the city council and the district council. “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 primarily help people who were not willing to work. According to Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the left parliamentary group, the reform plans will not lead to a real departure from Hartz IV. The standard rates would be increased too late and are overall too low, said Bartsch.

Heil defended the plans: It was the “biggest welfare state reform in 20 years”. It should enable people to find a job perspective again after a long period of unemployment. There is something wrong with the system if people are only placed in unskilled jobs over and over again instead of finding permanent work, he explained.

“Schizophrenic and Dishonest”

MPs from the Greens and FDP rejected the criticism that had been expressed for weeks, especially from the CDU and CSU, with sharp words. 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. The Greens parliamentary group leader Britta Haßelmann accused CDU leader Friedrich Merz of “prejudicing people who are affected by unemployment” and fueling “social envy”.

The traffic light plans for citizen income provide for an increase in the current standard rate of 449 euros for single people to 502 euros. In future, the unemployed should also be put under less pressure by threatened withdrawal of benefits (sanctions) and instead receive more support with further training measures. In addition, the requirements for the permitted amount of assets and the size of the apartment for benefit recipients are to be relaxed.

Source: Stern

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