In a surprising decision and probably for the first time in Argentina history, the two chambers of Congress agreed to freeze their salaries for the next 180 days, that is until the end of June.
The resolution was signed by the head of the Lower House, Sergio Massa and in the Senate by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, vice-president and whip of the Upper House. The resolution is extensive to the political staff in the two houses but not the permanent personnel of Congress.
Massa in sponsoring the resolution argues that the decision is essential for the austerity path of the public function, guided by solidarity ethics and promoting policies according to the reality.
The resolution follows on the controversy generated by the Economic Emergency bill vote, which has meant a strong belt tightening for pensioners and child allowances, and was presented by members of the opposition.
In effect on Thursday Senators from the ruling grouping Together for Change presented a resolution freezing salaries and allowances of Senators and requesting a review of the way future increases are calculated.
Earlier in the week the head of the opposition in the Senate, Luis Naidenoff said it was necessary to discuss the cost of politics and a that convincing message was needed.
The draft is supported with the signature of some nineteen members of the Senate while in the Lower House a similar initiative was presented.
The last increase dates back to September 2019 when members of congress agreed on a 10% rise in November, 10% in December and 10% in January. The January rise is automatically frozen according to resolution 0356/2019.
Currently Argentine congress members receive a monthly payment of 130.000 Pesos (equivalent now to some US$ 2.000), but they enjoy additional perks such as representation expenses, and for those living outside Buenos Aires air tickets and other transport allowances.
Abuse with the tickets led to another resolution barring the exchange of them for money, but which never was implemented. Apparently Cristina Fernandez is planning to make it come into effect in January.