Sánchez and the Government, half a year ignoring the Senate: the next Plenary Session there will be seven absences

Pedro Sánchez continues to show his contempt for the Senate, the Upper House of the Cortes. After the absolute majority of the PP in the general elections of July 23, the President of the Government has chosen to refuse to attend the Senate control sessions and, in fact, since his inauguration on November 16, he has only attended once. : it's been more than two months now. In fact, in the last year, he has only been there on that occasion, which was March 12. The penultimate time was on May 16, 2023, so Sánchez gives clear signs of his rejection of the Senate since, although participation in the control sessions is not regulated, it is true that José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero established the custom to go once a month (something that Mariano Rajoy and Sánchez himself continued when there was no majority of the PP).

The next plenary session of the Senate will be held between May 28 and 29 and both Sánchez and seven ministers have already reported that they will be absent, as stated in the note sent by the Secretary of State for Relations with the Cortes to all parliamentary groups. Among those absences is that of Vice President Teresa Ribera, a loss that has generated rejection from the PP because it coincides with the first week of the electoral campaign for the European elections on June 9. In this way, the vice president avoids the control session and questions from the opposition in the Senate in the middle of the campaign.

In addition to Ribera, Carlos Body, Minister of Economy, will also not be there; Margarita Robles, Minister of Defense; Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture; Mónica García, Minister of Health; José Luis Escrivá, Minister for Digital Transformation and Public Service, and Sira Rego, Minister of Youth. Furthermore, the majority of ministers who are absent do not have an agenda, so their non-appearance seems less justified.

Since March, the absences of Government ministers have ranged between five and nine in total.

The plenary session of the Senate will be marked, to a large extent, by the claim that the PP is going to make of the Chamber after the Government's maneuvers to try to empty it of power. In this sense, in recent weeks, the Executive has promoted amendments through the parity law that is being processed in Congress to remove from the Senate the power to veto the approval of the State Budget. In this sense, on the one hand, the popular spokesperson is going to ask in the control session if the Government plans to carry out an Accounts project in 2025; and, on the other hand, the popular ones will carry a motion in which they urge the Government to refrain from reforming laws to reduce the powers of the Senate.

And, specifically, when the PP urges the Government to “respect the powers that the Constitution and the legal system assign to the Senate, refraining from proceeding to empty it either through changes in the rules or by deed” it is referring to the “case of the procedure for parliamentary authorization of the budgetary stability and public debt objectives for all Public Administrations”: that is, the capacity of the Senate to overthrow the Budgets through the rejection of the debt and deficit objectives.

However, the motion is not binding, but it does serve as a warning to the Government about the PP's refusal to remove the Senate's power over the veto of budget stability objectives.

The motion also sets out what the conditions of the PP are in the event that there is a negotiation regarding the objectives for 2025, which will probably pass through the Upper House in the fall (that is, practically at the return of summer). Specifically, the popular ones demand that the Government share the deficit objectives between the State and the autonomous communities at around 90/10; commit to respecting the fiscal autonomy of the autonomous communities and abandon bilaterality to recover multilateralism; approve a resource allocation fund for the autonomous communities that allows them to balance their situations and, above all, be able to meet the needs in the field of health, education and social policies; and, reduce the fiscal pressure by deflating personal income tax, reducing the VAT rate on electricity and gas to 5%, eliminating taxes on energy and temporarily reducing the VAT rate on meat, fish, and water. , preserves intended for human consumption and fermented dairy products.

Meanwhile, the plans have been denounced by the PP spokesperson in the Senate, Alicia García: «Despite the numerous opportunities that Mr. Sánchez and the rest of his Government have had to give explanations, they have not wanted to take advantage of any. Since the Koldo case broke out, the President of the Government has limited himself to giving silence in response. «Sánchez has rejected every opportunity he has had to give explanations and that is why he has to come to the Senate. The last one was this week in the Plenary Session of Congress, where President Feijóo raised numerous questions that were not answered, and wanted to divert the internal problems of the Government by talking about Ukraine and Palestine,” adds García.