PT tries to approve PEC amid uneasiness with Congress

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PT tries to approve PEC amid uneasiness with Congress

Allies of elected president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) try this Tuesday (20) to approve the PEC (proposed amendment to the Constitution) of Gastança even with difficulties for a consensus text and in the midst of uneasiness with parliamentarians generated by decisions of the STF (Federal Supreme Court).

The mayor, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), scheduled the beginning of the voting session for 9 am. Petistas want the proposal to be analyzed soon, but try to seek an understanding of the terms of the PEC before it actually goes to the vote.

The matter will be analyzed after the STF decided, this Monday (19), by six votes to five, to declare the rapporteur’s amendments unconstitutional. The decision caused friction between the new management and the centrão, which has its main electoral capital in the amendments.

The day before, Minister Gilmar Mendes, dean of the Supreme Court, granted an injunction that removes expenses with Bolsa Família from the spending ceiling, allowing Lula to ensure the payment of R$ 600 to beneficiaries without having to change the Constitution.

The 2023 Budget proposal sent by the Jair Bolsonaro government (PL) to the National Congress provided for an average benefit of BRL 405. To fulfill the promise of maintaining the additional BRL 200, the amount needed is estimated at BRL 52 billion.

Even with this possibility, PT members say that the best thing is to approve the PEC, which guarantees resources not only for Bolsa Família, but expands the spending ceiling so that other programs, such as Minha Casa, Minha Vida, are resumed. At least 308 votes, equivalent to 60% of the House, are needed to amend the Constitution.

The future Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, would meet with Lula on Monday night to discuss the articulation around the proposal, since the prognosis for approval in the Chamber, which was already not good, became worse after the Supreme Court’s determinations. .

Both court decisions were read by members of center parties and deputies close to Lira as undue interference by the STF in Parliament’s attributions. More than that, the president of the Chamber himself and allies assess that Lula had influence in Ricardo Lewandowski’s vote, which guaranteed the unconstitutionality of the rapporteur’s amendments, even though PT members deny interference.

Therefore, the assessment among parliamentarians from the centrão is that Lula confronted Lira and part of Parliament and that this makes the possibility of approval of the PEC even more difficult. The weather was described this Monday afternoon as “horrible” by people close to the mayor.

Negotiations around the PEC, which raises the ceiling and releases R$ 168 billion in expenses for the new government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), have been sluggish since last week.

The expectation surrounding the judgment on the rapporteur’s amendments and Lula’s delay in sharing ministries among allied parties were already blocking the proposal’s processing.

The PT would like to approve the text that came out of the Federal Senate, which increases the spending ceiling by R$ 145 billion and authorizes another R$ 23 billion in investments outside the spending limit, in case of collection of extraordinary revenues, for a period of two years, among other items.

Deputies close to Lira say that Elmar Nascimento (União Brasil-BA), rapporteur for the measure in the Chamber, has committed to centrão party allies, such as Republicans and PP, to reduce the validity period of the measure to one year – something to that the PT resists.

The president of the Chamber told people close to him that it is possible to reach a compromise in the proposal, such as approving it with one year of validity, but with a value of R$ 145 billion – lower than that approved in the Senate, but higher than R$ $ 80 billion that part of the deputies want to put as a ceiling.

The idea is to reach an understanding to vote on the proposal this Tuesday

According to Senator-elect Wellington Dias (PT-PI), the ideal is to approve the proposal this Tuesday, but an understanding must be reached.

Dias praised Gilmar’s decision for opening “the door of the Budget to the poorest”, but stated that “President Lula’s recognition and decision, as he said from the beginning, is to find an alternative in politics”.

“The PEC that is already in the Chamber is more complete. In addition to placing the poor in the Budget, the payment of the Bolsa Família, essential services for the population, the operation of a set of organs, it also deals with investments”, he said.

The future Minister of the Civil House, Rui Costa (PT), also said that the court’s determination does not weaken the idea of ​​approving the PEC, but on the contrary, strengthens it.

“Plan A, B and C is the approval of the PEC”, he said. According to Costa, it is not necessary to measure forces with Congress, but “there must be dialogue”.

PEC remains the government’s plan A, says Haddad

According to Haddad, the PEC continues to be a priority in the Lula government. “I always play on plan A, which is the plan that gives strength, indicates a path, we are going to take measures right at the beginning of the year to solve the gap that was inherited from this government”, he said.

On Sunday, Minister Gilmar Mendes partially responded to a request submitted by the Rede Sustentabilidade party and said that it was “legally possible” to use extraordinary credit to maintain Bolsa Família.

This makes room for Lula to edit a provisional measure still in January to guarantee payment in the current amount of R$ 600 of the Brazil Aid, which will be renamed. Some PT supporters advocate that the president-elect activate this mechanism instead of insisting on the approval of the PEC in the midst of the various impasses surrounding the proposal.

Lula, however, resists, as he also wants to guarantee resources for other programs.

Gilmar’s decision gives partial relief to the new government

Gilmar Mendes’ decision, in practice, gives partial relief to the elected government, as it fails to make room in the Budget for the expansion of public investments —another Lula campaign promise.

At the beginning of this Monday, allies of the PT came to assess that, by the decision of the minister of the STF, all Bolsa Família expenses (almost R$ 160 billion) would be outside the spending ceiling.

However, the party began to analyze the decision in more detail and one wing understands that this would be worth R$ 52 billion, an amount to raise the average benefit of R$ 405 (which is already foreseen in the Budget project) to R$ 600.

There is doubt as to whether the decision breaches the ceiling for an additional benefit of R$ 150

Therefore, the Sustainability Network intends to ask the STF for clarification. The idea is to find out if the decision also allows the use of resources outside the ceiling to pay for the additional benefit of R$ 150 per child up to six years old, which was promised by Lula in the campaign.

The fear of Lula’s allies is that a possible postponement of the PEC vote could jeopardize the approval of the 2023 Budget.

After leaving a meeting with the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), the Budget Rapporteur, Senator Marcelo Castro (MDB-PI), stated that he is optimistic about the approval of the measure.

“I don’t work with that hypothesis [de PEC não ser votada pelos deputados]🇧🇷 It would be such a disaster for the country if the Chamber did that,” he said.

Castro stated that only with the approval of the constitutional amendment will it be possible to recompose the health and housing budget.

“Will anyone think it’s normal, for the first time in history, that we don’t have resources for popular housing? We don’t. Only with the PEC are we recomposing this line”, he added.

If there are changes in the merits of the proposal, the PEC would have to go through a new vote in the Senate, later this week. Congress officially goes into recess this Friday (23).

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