Riigikogu committee rejects Reform's 1,657 family benefits bill amendments

Siret Kotka (pink dress) at the Riigikogu.
Siret Kotka (pink dress) at the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

An attempted filibuster by the Reform Party of a bill to raise family benefits has failed, after the relevant committee tasked with examining over 1,600 amendments – from around 2,000 originally tabled – voted not to process them, by six votes to four.

Whether the bill will be passed before the Riigikogu breaks up for Jaanipäev (mid-summer) and the rest of summer, Riigikogu social affairs committee chair Siret Kotka (Center) said this all hinges on the will of MPs.

Kotka told AK that: "The question is, do we want to take 10-minute breaks in the Riigikogu's great hall. If we do not want to, then it is viable."

A total of 1,657 amendments have been tabled from the Reform Party, together with three from the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE); all of them were voted down by the committee by six to four, in respect of both parties' amendments.

The committee has also ruled that the draft be placed on the plenary agenda for a second reading on June 8 and a final reading on June 15.

Reform tabled around 2,000 amendments to the Family Benefits Act, in an effort to filibuster the bill, of which 1,657 made it through to the social affairs committee, along with the three from SDE:

The bill, which would raise family benefits, is at the heart of a split between Reform and Center, the two coalition parties.

While it passed its first reading on May 30, four SDE MPs withdrew their signatures two days later.

Reform says it had wanted to discuss the bill's provisions as part of the 2023 state budget process, in the fall, while Center went ahead and tabled the bill in any case.

All three opposition parties backed the bill at its first reading, while Reform opposed it.

The Riigikogu's last day of work before the summer recess is June 16, though extraordinary sessions can be called after that.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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