Opinion – Vinicius Torres Freire: In addition to stumbling the economy, Lula 3 penalty to win in Congress


Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may even be able to approve the increase in expenses foreseen in the PEC package. The vote was set for next Tuesday and there is still no agreement on how the amendment will look. If the PEC is approved, even in fits and starts, it would be a demonstration of political strength. But very tentative force. In addition to the bad economic start, there is political disarray.

It is said that the PEC got stuck because Arthur Lira (PP-AL), president of the Chamber, would be charging too much for the approval of the amendment, in terms of positions for himself and his group. It might be. But many more people are hearing the gnashing of teeth at the lack of firm promises of a profitable place in the Lula government 3

Perhaps more importantly, the lack of definition of the rules for distributing the rapporteur’s amendments, the so-called secret budget, and the money that will actually be distributed through these pigeonholes in 2023 causes a problem.

There are not enough positions and perhaps not even money, even with the package of at least R$ 145 billion in the PEC. There is a deputy who says the story that there may not be enough Budget to pay for amendments is “unbelievable” – a story he says he heard from lulistas.

To make matters worse, they complain about the lack of a “political minister”.

“There’s Lula and a lot of people talking, but nobody knows what the decision is, who closes the deal and is responsible for paying the bill”, says a relevant deputy. The complaint ranges from the MDB ally to part of the Bolsonarist coalition parties that want a vacancy in the new government, passing through União Brasil.

The sururu goes further, as even party chief leaks out that, if Lira wants re-election, she needs to share part of the booty that the mayor would take with the approval of the PEC.

Without a solid agreement, which is actually very difficult before the new Congress takes office, without some appointments to the ministry and power arrangements at the helm of Congress (main committees, etc.), it is easy to hear from parliamentarians that it is not worth giving Lula two years of “license to spend”. Even if the PEC and Budget are approved this year, “the fight continues” and, worse, there may be tension even in Lira’s re-election. Interestingly, two weeks ago, this was not the climate regarding the PEC. Now, even the embarrassment of tampering with the State-Owned Companies Law, of interest to Lula and almost the entire Congress, is in the dance.

The difficulties with the PEC were so great that, this Thursday, there was even discussion about which legal kludge to invent to guarantee, at least, the payment of the Bolsa Família of R$ 600, which is little, since there are other emergencies. It is not money that would justify an extra expenditure of BRL 145 billion or even almost BRL 169 billion, as it is in the PEC, but the government, given the mandatory expenses, is in the bone and part of the federal administration could get stuck without some budgetary relief.

In short, the problems got mixed up: positions, uncertainty about rapporteur amendments, Lira’s re-election, lack of clarity where the funds for the amendments will come from, coalition assembly and the fact that Lula 3’s political command has only been almost made official now. Alexandre Padilha should go to the Government Secretariat, being the official negotiator of the Planalto, with Jacques Wagner (PT-BA) in the Senate leadership and José Guimarães (PT-CE) in the Chamber.

As for the rapporteur’s amendments, apart from the lack of understanding of the division of the booty by Congress, with strict percentages, it will be necessary to wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter. It was left for next week, not least because there will still be this odd negotiation between STF ministers and leaders of the Legislative.

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