The sensation in the Moncloa after the face to face this Tuesday in the Senate between Sánchez and Feijóo was relief. The debate took place at one of the most complicated moments of the legislature for the coalition government. On the one hand, there is the internal debate over the reform of the ‘only yes is yes’ law. But other controversies have also arisen such as that of the trains to Asturias and Cantabria or the intervention of food prices. However, the leader of the PP decided to explore another terrain for confrontation. “It is a mistake worse than that of ‘only yes is yes’”, Feijóo said in reference to the trans law, before snapping at Sánchez: “Stop bothering good people now”.
Feijóo seeks a photo with the Spanish troops in Latvia and Defense denies him permission
The phrase saved the afternoon of the President of the Government, devoted to polishing the agenda of social advances deployed by his Executive and overshadowed in recent weeks by the clashes within the coalition. “I never imagined that recognizing the rights of minorities, in this case the trans collective, would bother good people,” he replied. The president’s team did not hide their astonishment at what they described as a “big mistake” by the opposition leader. “The thing about good people sounds a bit old and that they now go from ‘only yes is yes’ to the trans law shows that the PP only gives sticks in the blind”, they concluded.
Three hours before the session in the Senate, the Council of Ministers had formalized the largest batch of scholarships in the history of Spain: 2,500 million euros, about 400 more than in the previous call -which represents an increase of 18%- and 70% more than the last one signed by a PP government. “These are funds intended for equal opportunities, so that thousands of students can be trained and that their socioeconomic conditions are not an obstacle for them. Can you imagine how many young people in our country would not be able to continue studying if they did not have these scholarships that we have just approved? ”, Said the Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, during her intervention at the press conference after the Council.
During press question time, the Executive spokesperson was expressly questioned about the difficulty of making politically profitable from a social agenda that has barely been left a public space in recent weeks by clashes between government partners. “Beyond this press room, Congress or the debates in the Senate, there are millions of Spaniards who know about the government’s action because it is directed directly at them,” answered Isabel Rodríguez.
The roadmap that the Government is trying to implement with great difficulty between the noise of coexistence in the coalition and the political crisis derived from the reduction of sentences for hundreds of sexual offenders on account of the application of the law of ‘only yes is yes’ ‘ consists of focusing on policies that allow a direct impact on people’s lives. In recent weeks, Moncloa has distributed videos of Pedro Sánchez himself meeting informally with beneficiaries of the increase in the Minimum Interprofessional Wage, pensions or scholarships.
“How can young people not know that they need to receive these scholarships to continue studying that the Government is committed to scholarships? Of course they are aware of the Government’s action, ”remarked the minister spokesperson, extending her response to the rest of the items. “This month of January I have come across many people who of course knew that the Government had made a revaluation of pensions because they saw how their pensions increased by more than one hundred euros on average. Or now that the people who earn the Minimum Wage are going to see that they are going to receive 80 euros more on their payroll, they surely know that it is a consequence of the Government’s action, ”she added.
Unidas Podemos asks to lower the price of food and regulate rents
United We Can is aware of the wear and tear caused by the clash over the ‘only yes is yes’ and has decided in parallel with its government partner to place the framework on the social agenda. To do this, the strategy of the confederal space involves redoubling the pressure on several of the fronts that it has open with the Socialists, especially where it believes it is showing more lukewarmness: the price of rents and food.
In the confederal space, the meeting held this Monday by the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, with distributors, the food industry, farmers and ranchers and consumer associations, caused stupefaction. Planas ruled out in statements after that meeting the measures that the minority partner of the Government is proposing to contain food prices and asked for “patience” until the VAT reduction takes effect.
Podemos is clear that lowering taxes has not given results, as it warned during the negotiations of that measure, and has proposed two options in recent weeks. The first, a direct market intervention to put a cap on the price of a basic basket, a measure that the second vice president of the Government, Yolanda Díaz, also defended this Tuesday. Given the silence they have obtained from the socialists, Podemos has proposed an alternative: a bonus with State funds to reduce prices by 14.4%.
The general secretary of Podemos, Ione Belarra, summarized her party’s opinion on Tuesday in a message on social networks. “In my opinion, the government’s response to the rise in food prices cannot be ‘go to another supermarket’ because all the large distributors are taking advantage. We have to stand next to the families with a 14% bonus to the basic basket, ”she pointed out.
“The PSOE has to understand that you cannot please ask the looters, savage capitalism, to stop earning so much money because they will want to earn more and more money. We are clear that the solution is for this public intervention in the market”, said the co-spokesperson for Podemos Pablo Fernández at a press conference on Monday. Already on Tuesday, in Congress, the UP parliamentary spokesman, Pablo Echenique, considered that it does not make sense to ask for “patience from families.” “Not everyone has time to go looking for different supermarkets,” he remarked.
To the demands on the price of food, Unidas Podemos has added pressure for the housing law that is being negotiated in Congress. This Tuesday there was a new meeting between the PSOE and the parliamentary groups that are trying to unravel the text to take it to commission. Although in United We Can – and also in the PSOE – they have been optimistic in recent days, this Tuesday Echenique conveyed a more conservative message. “The meeting has not gone as well as the previous one. The advances that occurred have not been substantiated black on white and we are less optimistic, ”said the spokesman for the confederal group.
United We Can, together with the main partners of the Government, is pressing the PSOE to effectively regulate all rents and to find a way to paralyze all those evictions in which families cannot be offered a housing alternative. The deputy of En Comú Podem Gerardo Pisarello raised this same Tuesday a mechanism for large holders to offer social rents to families in this situation.