Javier Milei's Tax and Omnibus Bills Narrowly Pass Argentine Senate protests outside Congress escalate into violence.


Argentine President Javier Milei's comprehensive reform package was narrowly approved in the Senate late on Wednesday, as protests against his measures turned violent in Buenos Aires.

Following an 11-hour debate, senators voted 37–36 in favor of Milei's tax reforms and an omnibus bill. The motion was initially tied 36–36, but Vice President Victoria Villarruel, the head of the chamber, cast the decisive vote.

"For those Argentines who suffer, who wait, who do not want to see their children leave the country…my vote is affirmative," Villarruel said.

Last December, Milei introduced his extensive reform package, aimed at deregulating and reforming several sectors, including labor, commerce, real estate, and health care. The bill also proposes a declaration of "a public emergency in economic, financial, fiscal, pensions, defense, tariff, energy, health, administrative, and social matters until December 31, 2025." It seeks to privatize numerous state-owned enterprises.

However, the bill faced an uphill battle in Congress, where Milei's party is in the minority. The bill was rejected in February and was approved in a modified form in late April, reducing the number of articles from over 600 to 232.

During the Senate voting, some of the bill's elements were also removed, including the plan to privatize the state-run airline, Aerolíneas Argentinas.

During his first six months in office, Milei has not managed to pass any legislation. So far, he has relied on his executive power to deregulate the Argentine economy and cut public spending. Yesterday's successful vote represents an initial legislative victory for the president.

The bill still requires voting on each individual article—a process that is expected to last through Thursday night—before facing a final vote in the lower house. However, at this point, its implementation is highly likely.

After the vote, the president's office released a statement claiming the reforms were a step toward abandoning "policies of failure and misery," positioning Argentina "on the path to prosperity and growth."

Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered outside the National Congress building, protesting against Milei's shock measures and urging senators to reject his proposals. The protesters chanted, "Our country is not for sale!" and "We will defend the state!"

The protests escalated into violence, with clashes between the police and demonstrators. Protesters threw sticks, stones, and Molotov cocktails at police. Others set overturned cars on fire. According to the minister of justice and security for the city of Buenos Aires, Waldo Wolff, one protester was found "with a grenade."

In response, riot police used water cannons, pepper spray, and tear gas to disperse crowds. More than a dozen protesters have been arrested.

The violence resulted in injuries, with at least 20 police officers and five opposition lawmakers receiving medical attention. The lawmakers were pepper sprayed by police during the confrontation and were transported to the hospital, according to the Peronist party Unión por la Patria.

Milei's office condemned the protests, calling the demonstrators "terrorists" who were "attempting to carry out a coup d'état" by disrupting Congress.

"The only thing the old guard knows how to do is put spokes in the wheel," Milei said on Wednesday at a conference in Buenos Aires. "We are going to change Argentina, we are going to make it the most liberal country in the world."