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Tupper-war! Or, the great Senatorial snack-down

14 September 2018

MORENA, having won a majority in both houses of the Mexican Congress, got right to work on the opening day of the session (1 September) pushing through major budget cuts, including the ridiculous perks enjoyed by their own members.  Just today, for example, only two weeks into the legislative session, the lower house voted 433 to 9 in favor of cutting all salaries to less than that of the President (and the President elect cut his own salary almost in half).   Even opposition members are willing to go along with yet more cuts: 70 percent of their travel budgets, less money for fewer legislative aides, paying their own health insurance, giving up their government paid chauffeurs and cars, but there is a limit…a line in the sand when it comes to Senatorial privilege.  The Senate opposition (PAN, PRI, PRD, MC, Greens) is united in saving… the Senate snack bar.

The minority originally argued that the snack bar was a “job creator”… while in the U.S. Senate one is used to seeing teenage pages on the Senate floor, on the floor of the Mexican senate, those people running around doing errands were the waitresses.  While the majority was willing to allow the waitresses on the floor… if a session lasted more than four hours and the minority senators complained if they left the floor, they might have to wait in line for a cup of coffee… like they do at Starbucks.  Still, somehow, even without the Senate snack bar, I don’t think the fate of the nation hangs on a Senator (or his or her aide) running over to Oxxo… the one next door, and the two just down the street are all open 24 hours — and there’s a taco stand outside the Senate building gate).

With the electorate in a mood for cutting government payrolls, the  “job creation” argument failed to gain traction, and I suppose there is a danger that various Senators will be urged to change votes by the side that says “we’ve got cookies!”, and I imagine there are those (maybe among the Greens) who have some valid reasons for eschewing Oxxo, and maybe some PANistas would never, ever stoop to street tacos.

In response to the pressing political split majority leader , Marti Batres has issued a challenge:  “el Tupper Challenge”.

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