Friday, June 14, 2024

ARGENTINA | 04-06-2024 17:35

Menem signs resolution for 80% hike in expenses for national deputies

To be paid in three instalments, the hike will lift sitting lawmakers' salaries to more than 2.2 million pesos a month.

Against the desire of the Casa Rosada and the rest of the heads of the caucuses in the lower house he leads, Martín Menem approved on Tuesday an 80-percent hike for expenses for national deputies.

To be paid in three instalments, the hike will lift sitting lawmakers' salaries to more than 2.2 million pesos a month.

In contrast to the Casa Rosada, most deputies consider it to be a low increase. Many expect to earn as much as senators, who in April cashed in 7.2 million pesos per month on average . Even so, Menem stood firm at 80 percent so as not to generate further tension with the government and signed the resolution on his own.

The La Rioja Province official sought for support from the heads of other caucuses, but they all refused to back the measure, considering it insufficient. TIn addition, no-one wanted to be seen as taking the blame publicly for the hike. 

Menem took advice from the head of the Unión por la Patria caucus, Germán Martínez, to pay the increase in three instalments, and thus not bring an abrupt jump to expenses.

With this increase, and taking into account an average allowance of 1.2 million pesos, all 257 national lawmakers would now have, once the three instalments are paid, an average income of 2.2 million pesos before tax.

“The reality is that we’re very far from what a senator makes and we also have to travel and pay for hotels,” explained one deputy, speaking anonymously to the Noticias Argentinas news agency.

“We have to change committee members all the time because deputies can’t come. Eighty percent of the members of the House live on their allowance and they can’t make ends meet. Uprooting expenses, at 300,000 pesos, were enough in 2023 to pay for a hotel, today it barely covers a week. If I have to call an information committee, no-one will travel,” he added.

If the increase in deputies’ expenses is ultimately approved, the pay gap between Lower and Upper House legislators will be reduced to 265 percent.

The agreement might be made official in the special session held on Tuesday, where legislators will seek to debate the pension reform, the university budget and the return of the Teachers’ Incentive Fund.



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