The race to approve the first Coalition Government Budgets has come to an end this Tuesday in the Senate. The upper house has approved the accounts by a large majority without accepting one of the more than 4,000 amendments presented, among the complaints of many senators for the lack of debate.
The opinion of the project obtained 145 votes in favor -PSOE, ERC, Bildu, PNV, En Comú Podem, Más Madrid, Compromís, Teruel Existe, Aragonese Party, Cantabria Regionalist Party, La Gomera Socialist Group, Geroa Bai and the Senator of Citizens Xavier Alegre, who joined the Mixed Group, 118 against and two abstentions.
The Budgets will come into force on January 1 and the longest-lived democracy will retire, those of the popular Cristóbal Montoro, approved in 2018.
The four hours that the plenary session lasted were a concatenation of soliloquies. Aware as they were from minute one, all senators that not a comma would be changed in the text that came out of Congress on December 3 .
The complaints about turning the passing of the accounts through the Senate into a mere formality united parliamentarians from the left and right in an unusual lament. Even some who at the end of the day ended up supporting the Budgets.
“They are kidnapping the camera!”, The Senator of Compromís Carles Mulet was heard saying from the rostrum , as he watched the 903 amendments that he presented alone were dispatched at a stroke.
“They have forced us to the eastern theater of the processing of the General State Budgets,” criticized the popular José Vicente Marí Bosó in turn. “It is a great parliamentary scam,” shouted Josep Lluís Cleries, spokesman for Junts per Catalunya.
Nobody seemed happy except on the bench of the Socialists. This Tuesday there was no room for surprises and there was room for haste, so although the possibility of a second full day was contemplated, everything was finished in a few hours.
Both ERC, PNV and EH Bildu did not present partial amendments, which took for granted the absolute majority in the upper house to reject any amendment, as was evident last week in the rejection of the vetoes presented by PP, Vox, Ciudadanos, Junts and Canary Coalition .
In his turn to reply, the Socialist spokesman in the Senate, Ander Gil, demanded “at least respect” for some accounts that had the support of “13 formations and a little over 55% of their lordships.”
The coalition executive has managed to process it in record time (56 days) , despite far exceeding the limit set by the Constitution for the presentation of the draft, set on September 30.
The tug of war in the negotiation between the PSOE and United We Can delayed its approval in the Council of Ministers until October 27, the day on which the processing meter was reset. At that time, all bets indicated that 2021 would start, again, with Montoro’s accounts.
But the definitive confirmation that this would not be the case came this Tuesday earlier from Moncloa than from the Senate. “Spain is going to start the year with new accounts,” announced the Government spokesperson and Finance Minister, María Jesús Montero, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers.
It did not matter that there were still a few hours before the result of the vote was known. In the late afternoon, ten government ministers, including Montero herself, went to the Senate to hear the string of rejections of all the amendments.
These Budgets are the most expansive in history , with almost 240,000 million euros in social investment, and they contemplate the advance of 27,000 million of European funds awarded to Spain for the reconstruction of the crisis derived from the pandemic.
Montero referred to them as “unpublished accounts for a singular moment in the history” of Spain.
In January, when Pedro Sánchez was inaugurated president, the approval of the Budgets seemed the greatest objective on the Executive’s horizon . Just two months later, the coronavirus plunged Spain into a pandemic for which there is still no exit date.
The Government maintains that these accounts will allow rebuilding the battered economy with “greater strength.” Hence the rush, they indicate, to speed up its processing.
The day, however, left a bitter taste in part of the senators. “It is very frustrating to write initiatives to become part of this paripé”, summarized the spokesman for the Gomera Socialist Group, Fabián Chinea.