A strong controversy arises after the socialist deputy Odon Elorza announced today his resignation to this remuneration during the state of alarm. A charge that in the case of members of the Congress of Deputies amounts to 1,900 euros free of taxes per month.
Despite the few deputies and senators who continue to attend the few plenary sessions that still take place during the state of alarm, their monthly allocations remain intact. Several parties of the Mixed Group sent requests days ago that they should not be paid in April the amount corresponding to travel allowances, and that they dedicate that money to make a donation to public health to combat the coronavirus.
The controversy has spread today through the networks, after the socialist deputy announced to his Twitter account that he has waived the collection of this compensation:
Today I have GIVEN UP the collection of the Congress allowance for travel expenses (1,900) on the April payroll for not using it when confined. Ethical reasons, in a personal decision, already led me to request it from the President of the @Congreso_Es on March 14 and 21. pic.twitter.com/lPeKrN97KF– Odon Elorza (@ odonelorza2011) April 2, 2020
How much do parliamentarians charge?
The deputies and senators receive a monthly allowance (base salary) of 2,981.86 and 3,050.66 euros, respectively, to which supplements are added according to the task they perform in the Chamber (spokespersons or table positions). But they are also entitled to “aid, franchises and compensation for expenses that are essential for the fulfillment of their function.”
This includes a monthly indemnity to “meet the expenses caused by the activity of the Chamber”, which does not pay tax and that they charge even the members of the Government who have seats. It is 917.03 euros for the deputies elected by Madrid and 1,921.20 euros for those of the other constituencies, amounts that in the Senate rise to 933.78 for the eleven of Madrid and 1,958.02 euros for the rest . In total, each month the Congress dedicates a total of 635,265.71 euros to these diets and the Senate another 505,650.64 euros.
In conversation with Europa Press, Elorza explains that “ethical reasons” are behind this personal decision and clarifies that he does not intend to give morality lessons to anyone, since he understands that the “casuistry” among the deputies is varied, with some of his colleagues still moving to Madrid for Plenaries or Commissions such as Health. This is not the case, that he stays at his home in San Sebastian and that, unlike other deputies, he stays in hotels when he goes to Madrid when others choose to rent a house that, if they want to keep, they cannot stop paying.
In reality, Elorza has already made the decision to give up his displacement diet from the same day that the state of alarm was approved on March 14. Already then, he wrote both to the president of Congress and to the leadership of his parliamentary group in this regard, which he reiterated on March 21 without his demand being met. In March, as every month, Elorza received the full displacement diet on her payroll.
The deputy assures not to understand that for bureaucratic reasons his request is not met. That is why this Thursday he insists on the issue and claims that if the Board does not decide to suspend the payment of this diet in general to all the deputies, at least it does so for those who, like him, request it voluntarily.
Last week, the deputies of the Cantabrian Regionalist Party (PRC) and Foro Asturias in Congress, Jose Maria Mazon and Isidro Martinez Oblanca, proposed to the Lower House that they dedicate the compensation that normally covers travel and accommodation expenses in Madrid to fight the pandemic. An initiative to which Junts per Catalunya and the CUP also subsequently joined.
Meanwhile, on the platform ‘Change.org’ there is a request for all elected public officials to donate 15% of their salary for March and April and, in the case of deputies, senators and regional deputies, to allocate this exemption compensation from taxation for travel expenses, to buying medical supplies to combat the pandemic.
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