Argentine senators double their salaries in two-minute vote

Milei lambasted them, although one lawmaker from his party co-signed the resolution

The Argentine Chamber of Senators approved a raise in their monthly salaries from AR$1.7 million (US$1,860 at the official rate) to a minimum of AR$4.1 million (US$4,490) via a legislative resolution on Thursday.

The senators voted with a show of hands at the end of Thursday’s ordinary session without holding a debate. Juan Carlos Romero, a dissident Peronist from the center-right coalition Juntos por el Cambio, proposed they vote on the resolution without saying what it was about at 1:42 p.m. All senators had a copy on their desks.

At 1:44 p.m., 47 senators had voted in favor and the speaker of the Chamber, Vice President Victoria Villarruel, approved the motion.

A vote by show of hands is not reflected in the Senate record. “The only way to know for sure is getting into the [YouTube] broadcast and see who voted one way or the other,” a spokesperson for the Senate told the Herald.

Resolution 615/24, which had the signatures of Senators from different parties, states that lawmakers should get fair compensation for their work. “Otherwise, lawmakers may be prevented from dedicating [themselves] exclusively or mainly to their public duties,” the text said.

The senators’ new minimum wage is more than six times the average salary for a private-sector worker, which stands at AR$619,007 (US$677.81) a month according to the Human Capital Ministry.

Moreover, some Senators could earn up to AR$5 million (US$5,480) due to two additional bonuses.

President Javier Milei, who has championed austerity measures since he took office, spoke against the senators in a post on X. “This is the way the caste moves,” he wrote in all caps. He added that the only seven senators who did not vote for the raise were from the ruling party, La Libertad Avanza (LLA). However, some senators from the PRO right-wing party also abstained.

Moreover, LLA Senator Bruno Olivera co-signed the project, although he also abstained from voting.

The wage increase sparked criticism from supporters of the ruling party against Villarruel. LLA supporters had already railed against her after she called for a session in which Milei’s mega-decree was partially taken down.

Villarruel said that senators “from every bloc” agreed to raise their salaries. In a post on X, she claimed she was not part of the raise and had no legal tools to stop it.

“How does it benefit me to approve a salary [raise] that I will not receive and to have my own and others’ trolls come out to criticize me?” she said after users from both the opposition and the ruling party criticized her on social media.

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