Looks like Argentina’s lawmakers finally got travel companies to refund them for those plane tickets to Cancún after all, because the Lower House of Congress early this morning backtracked on its original decision and reduced the controversial 47 percent increase in lawmakers’ salaries.
The lawmakers changed their mind on the hikes after President Mauricio Macri called on them to not “go overboard” with the increases yesterday. Whether that, or the almost uniform public outrage, was what pushed them to change their mind is unclear. But better late than never eh?
What we do know is that, even though lawmakers rejected a call from Workers’ Party (PO) lawmaker Néstor Pitrola to debate the issue, Lower House Speaker Emilio Monzó announced the final decision — final? — around 3 AM. When news broke, Pitrola called the move a “political victory.”
By annulling the increase in the so-called “representation expenses,” which had gone from AR$10,000 to AR$20,000, the increase in lawmakers’ net salaries this year rolled back to 31 percent, the same number as the rest of the legislative employees.
The increase in the different bonus payment they also receive for things such as transportation and living expenses — which could push some lawmakers’ salaries up to AR$141,000 — has been suspended. The battle isn’t over yet though, the final decision on whether it will be implemented will be made today in a meeting Monzó is scheduled to hold with the leaders of other caucuses.
The bonus that representatives from other provinces received for working in the City of Buenos Aires had gone up from AR$13,000 to AR$18,000. Transportation expenses, which can be exchanged for money if not used, had been bumped up from AR $18,500 to AR $40,000. Yep, that’s per month.