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Argentine Lawmakers Debate Pensions Takeover Plan

Argentina's lower house of Congress is debating a government plan to nationalize $25 billion in private pension funds.

The lawmakers meeting Thursday were expected to approve the plan, which would then go to the Senate for consideration. The measure calls for the assets to be transferred to the state-run social security agency.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's government announced the plan last month, describing it as a way to protect retirees. But Argentine business leaders fear the takeover plan will dry up liquidity on local markets. Protests in favor of and against the takeover plan have occurred in Buenos Aires.

Recently, Argentine markets fell on concern that the country is headed for a default and that the measure is an effort to increase cash flow.

The bill would hand more than $4 billion in annual contributions to the Fernandez government.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.