Chamber concludes PEC dos Precatórios, which enables Brazil Aid of R$ 400, and text goes to the Senate

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Chamber concludes PEC dos Precatórios, which enables Brazil Aid of R$ 400, and text goes to the Senate

In a victory of the Jair Bolsonaro government and Arthur Lira (PP-AL), the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies concluded this Tuesday night (9) the vote on the PEC (proposed amendment to the Constitution) of the Precatório, a proposal that gives default on judicial debts of the Union.

The measure is a priority for the Executive to guarantee the payment of Brazil Aid of R$ 400 from December until the end of 2022, the year in which Bolsonaro is expected to run for re-election, in addition to making room for other federal expenditures. Under the proposal, around R$90 billion should be released for expenses next year.

The basic text was approved in the second round by 323 votes to 172, 15 more than the minimum necessary for changes in the Constitution, 308. Deputies rejected proposals to suppress provisions of the PEC in the second round. The measure is going to be analyzed by the Senate, where it should face more difficulties, according to an assessment made by Bolsonaro.

Despite losing support in the opposition PDT’s bench between the first and second rounds, the government and the president of the Chamber managed to broaden the base of support for the PEC this Tuesday.

Among other strategies, they sponsored an operation that involved the distribution of R$1.4 billion in parliamentary amendments in the last two weeks. For this, the amendments of the rapporteur of the Budget were used, whose distribution meets only political criteria and which were suspended this Tuesday by the majority of the ministers of the Supreme Federal Court.

These amendments are controlled and distributed in the Chamber by Lira, with the support of the political wing of the Bolsonaro government.

The offensive broadened the support base among allied deputies who did not vote in the first round, in parties such as the DEM, PSDB, PP, PSL and Republicans.

In an interview with GloboNews during the vote for highlights in the second round, Lira was asked about the STF’s decision to suspend the rapporteur’s amendments. He called the second round victory “excellent”, a “demonstration of the strength of the Chamber” and highlighted the increase in voting compared to the first round.

The deputy said that a working group will be created before the STF finishes the judgment or analysis of the merits of the matter so that the solution comes from the Legislative. “The budget is a responsibility of the Legislature,” he said, adding that the amendments are traceable. “Parliamentary amendment should not and will not be criminalized.”

“When the Supreme Court decides to interfere in the internal progress of a legislative process of the National Congress, we need to sit down, talk not to, and the Chamber has never done it, nor the Senate, I hope, with arrows from all sides.”

Another part of the strategy was to guarantee votes from deputies who are outside Brasília, through a maneuver adopted by Lira that relaxed the rules for returning to face-to-face voting.

During the vote, the government suffered only one defeat. The setback, however, did not affect the proposal’s pillars.

Deputies withdrew a provision that released the executive from asking for specific authorization from Congress to violate the golden rule, which prevents the government from going into debt to pay current expenses, such as salaries and pensions.

The text was excluded by 303 to 167 — it needed at least 308 votes to be retained. The decision came after the PDT changed its stance and steered against the PEC, after voting in favor of the main text last week.

The PDT bench, which has 25 deputies, last week gave 15 votes in favor of the proposal. This contributed to the narrow victory of the government, but it opened a crisis in the party. Ciro Gomes (PDT) claimed to have suspended his candidacy for president of the Republic in protest against the decision of the bench.

The party’s leadership then acted to reverse the support of deputies to the PEC, which is seen as a measure to strengthen Bolsonaro’s campaign for re-election. This Tuesday, only 4 to 5 of the 25 deputies of the party voted with the government.

The first round of the PEC had been approved last week by 312 votes, just 4 more than the minimum necessary.

The PEC, if approved by the Chamber and Senate, will release more than R$91 billion in spending for the 2022 election year, according to the Ministry of Economy.

Among the attempts at change overturned by the government on Tuesday was a highlight of the MDB, rejected by 316 votes, which was trying to change one of the main points of the PEC — which foresees a dribble in the spending ceiling, a rule that impedes the growth of public expenditures above of inflation.

The government’s plan with the PEC is to retroactively change the calculation of this limit, effectively increasing the margin for more expenditures at the end of 2021 and in 2022.

The opposition and other parties opposed to the measure criticize the proposal, noting that the government’s intention is not restricted to Auxílio Brasil, but also opens up room for the expansion of parliamentary amendments under Lira’s control.

“I want to make it clear that we defend the increase of Bolsa Família, now called Renda Brasil by the current government [Auxílio Brasil], and we defend preserving the spending ceiling, preserving, in fact, fiscal responsibility”, stated the leader of the MDB bench, Isnaldo Bulhões (AL).

In October, Bolsonaro determined the increase of Auxílio Brasil (a substitute for Bolsa Família) to R$400, triggering a crisis between the political and economic wings of the government.

The solution to meet the president’s demand was to circumvent the spending ceiling, proposing a change in the calculation of the fiscal rule in the PEC dos Precatórios.

This measure, which was already in the Chamber, provides for a limit for payment of court orders (debts of the Union recognized by the courts), which frees up more space in the Budget.

The two changes foreseen in the PEC —involving the spending cap and the court orders— have the potential to open a gap of more than R$ 90 billion next year, guaranteeing resources for Brazil Aid and aid for truck drivers and offsetting the increase in related expenses to high inflation.

The increase in spending in the social area is a bet by Bolsonaro and allies to try to strengthen the president in the 2022 reelection race.

One of the points of divergence concerned the guarantee of payment of debts from Fundef transfers (Funding for the Maintenance and Development of Elementary Education and the Valorization of Teaching). There are about R$ 15.6 billion in court orders on this topic for Bahia, Pernambuco, Ceará and Amazonas.

The vote was marked by the in-person lobby of mayors, who filled the Chamber’s Green Room, the plenary’s gateway, pressing for approval of the measure that, among other things, will allow municipalities to pay debts to the Union if they approve local Social Security reforms. .

The government expects the PEC to be enacted by Congress within two weeks. Without this, there will be no space in the Budget for the payment of the R$ 400 of Auxílio Brasil to start in December, as already announced by Palácio do Planalto. The cost of this measure is approximately R$50 billion in 2022.

In addition, the funds released with the PEC should also be used for other Bolsonaro pledges.

About R$600 million must be used to pay the gas allowance. Congress approved a bill that subsidizes at least 50% the value of the cylinder for low-income families, with the objective of alleviating the effect of the increase in the price of the product on the family budget.

For the so-called “diesel bag”, BRL 3.6 billion should be used next year. Bolsonaro promised that he would launch a program of R$ 400 per month to around 750,000 truck drivers.

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