Under the slogan “no more rich parliament and poor people,” the Senate is undergoing a downsizing following the introduction of the government austerity policy by president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Senators gave unanimous approval to the plan presented by the Morena party majority, which represents a 30% reduction in the Senate’s budget.
No longer will the taxpayers pay for senators’ fuel expenses, mobile phone bills, food vouchers, major medical expenses, toll booth fees, the maintenance of their personal vehicles or individualized end-of-employment insurance, among other perks.
The lawmakers will also have to work with less: the political parties represented in the upper chamber will no longer be allocated budgetary funds. Of the existing 64 legislative commissions, only 42 will continue to operate and 16 will be completely eliminated.
The new Senate, sworn in a week ago, also put a cap on professional fee expenses and food costs.
Durango Senator Alejandro González Yáñez said the austerity measures are expected to save 599 million pesos (US $30.9 million) this year, and 1.4 billion ($72 million) in 2019.
The measures, which are intended reduce expenditures to those that are “strictly necessary,” were passed unanimously.
Senators are also considering a pay cut of 13,300 pesos, reducing their monthly salary to 105,000. This would mean that senators no longer earn more than the president.
The president of the house’s political coordination council, Senator Ricardo Monreal Ávila, said the Senate could not “live within a sphere of privilege in front of a world of inequality [and] by no means can it continue to maintain a status quo that is far removed from that which exists outside its precincts.”