PSD, PNL left the Chamber session before the final vote, plenum suspended.
The Chamber of Deputies adopted yesterday the social assistance bill by articles after two hours-worth of debates and arguments. The representatives of the opposition criticized the bill backed by the ruling coalition, arguing it is merely a pretext for the ruling power to slice social assistance expenses by one third in 2012. Furthermore, the Social-Democrat Party (PSD) argues that the bill, which modifies 16 laws and several Government resolutions and ministerial orders, puts the ordinary citizens’ interest at risk. In this context, the Social-Democrats reiterated they would not vote on the bill, the more so as the amendments proposed by the opposition to the 147 articles of the bill were rejected by vote and the debate was interrupted by several recesses for consultations.
Thus, the PSD deputy Ioan Cindrea stated that the law shifts the burden of the economic crisis onto the down-trodden and transfers social assistance under the authority of local government without allotting it the necessary funds. In turn, ex-Labour Minister Mariana Campeanu argued that this law marked the disappearance of the social solidarity principle, adding that the law in question is an instance of “outrageous” discrimination against disabled people and places vulnerable categories at a disadvantage rather than assisting them. “The object of the Social Assistance Law is that of reducing social assistance expenses rather than eradicating poverty,” the ex-Labour Minister Mariana Campeanu stated, quoted by Mediafax.
The social assistance bill was also forwarded to the Chamber’s Labour Committee yesterday by an assembly vote, with 153 votes “in favour” and five “against”. The deputies made this decision (e.n. of sending the bill back to the Labour Committee) following a petition of PSD representatives, who argued the bill stipulated the transfer of social assistance activities to the local authorities without ensuring them the funds needed. Only a day before, the same committee had approved after a seven-hour-debate the report on this bill with 14 votes “in favour” (e.n. from the ruling coalition) and 10 “against” (from the opposition).
The members of the committee analyzed over 200 amendments to the 147 articles of the bill. Labour Minister Sulfina Barbu (the Democrat Liberal Party) also attended the debate and voted on the bill. The Chamber of Deputies is the decisional body on this bill after it passed through the Senate by tacit adoption. The time allotted to the debate by articles on this bill is an hour, given that it should be adopted by emergency procedure.