The citizen money of the traffic light coalition has been stopped for the time being. In a special session of the Federal Council, the bill for the social reform did not receive the required majority. This means that the project planned for January 1st cannot come into force for the time being. As previously announced, several state governments led by or with the participation of the Union refused to approve the project.
In the special session, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) once again vehemently campaigned for the central reform project of the traffic light coalition. He rejected criticism from the opposition, for example about the permitted amount of assets and the permitted apartment size for benefit recipients. Here distorted images of giant villas or large fortunes are used. "That's not the reality. Most people who depend on basic security no longer have large reserves."
There are enough reasons to agree in the Federal Council, said Heil. "In the event that the citizen's income does not yet find a majority in the Bundesrat today, the federal government will call the mediation committee today." In this case, "My hand is stretched out to the solution". The aim is to reach an agreement by the next regular Federal Council meeting on November 25th. The legislative process must be completed by the end of November so that the law can come into force on January 1, 2023.
Sharp criticism from Bavaria
Sharp criticism came from Bavaria in particular, which then voted no in the state chamber. "The law is and remains the wrong signal at the wrong time," said State Minister for Federal Affairs Florian Herrmann (CSU). Little remains of the principle of "promoting and demanding" of the Hartz IV reform, which was correct. Possibilities of sanctions against uncooperative beneficiaries are almost completely excluded, the protective assets are set completely inflated. "The traffic light coalition is sending the signal that work is becoming less and less worthwhile." The law is "fundamentally socially unbalanced".
The controversial Hartz IV system is to be overcome with the new citizens' allowance. The plan is to increase the current standard rate from EUR 449 to EUR 502 for single beneficiaries. The Union also supports this. In the future, the unemployed should be put under less pressure by threatened withdrawal of benefits, especially in the first six months ("trust period"). The traffic light wants to relax the requirements for the permitted amount of assets and the size of the apartment for benefit recipients. At these points, the Union has been holding up its stop sign for weeks.
The Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat is a kind of political arbitration body. If a bill passed by parliament does not receive approval in the state chamber, a compromise can be sought here. The committee consists of 32 members - 16 each from the Bundestag and Bundesrat. You are not bound by instructions. If the mediation committee reaches a compromise, which is usually the case, the draft law in its new version must be passed again by the Bundestag and then also by the Bundesrat.
The Bundestag passed the draft law last Thursday with a majority of the SPD, Greens and FDP. The traffic light groups rejected a proposal by the Union to decouple the increase in the standard rates from the draft and to have them come into force separately on January 1st.