Argentine 2011 budget bill set for Congress vote

* Lower house budget committee approves draft of bill

* Decision clears way for lower house vote next week

* Government confident of securing congressional votes

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Argentina’s 2011 budget
bill, which details plans to tap central bank reserves to pay
debt, was approved by a congressional committee on Wednesday,
clearing the way for a vote in the lower house next week.

Opposition lawmakers have criticized the budget bill,
saying that it contains unrealistic figures on key indicators
such as growth and inflation, but allies of President Cristina
Fernandez are confident it will pass.

“There’s no doubt that on Wednesday, Nov. 10, we’ll get the
necessary number of deputies to pass this budget,” said ruling
party lawmaker Gustavo Marconato, who heads the lower house’s
budget committee.

If the bill is approved, it will then have to be voted by
the Senate before becoming law. Argentina’s government has
found it easier to control the upper house since suffering
heavy congressional losses in a June 2009 mid-term vote.

The 2011 budget bill earmarks up to $7.5 billion in foreign
reserves to pay private creditors, expanding a measure that
ended in the ousting of the central bank president and sparked
a political crisis early this year. [ID:nN06209372]

It estimates 2011 inflation at 8.4 percent, far lower than
private forecasts. Growth is estimated at a conservative 4.3
percent, down from forecasts for about 9 percent this year.

The opposition want to regain control of state spending
less than a year before the next presidential election, but if
it blocks the budget bill, the 2010 budget will be remain in
force — meaning the government would still have broad powers
to redirect and expand spending.
(Reporting by Magdalena Morales; Writing by Helen Popper)
([email protected]; +54 11 4318 0655; Reuters
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Argentine 2011 budget bill set for Congress vote