Bolsonaro’s allies say Congress should bar resets to servers and preserve amendments

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The assessment of leaders allied with President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) is that Congress should act against a wide salary increase for federal employees, especially if the measure requires an even greater reduction in the amount to be allocated to parliamentary amendments and expenses in the area. in 2022.

Bolsonaro said this week that he wants to use the funds to be released by the PEC (proposed amendment to the Constitution) of the Precatório, which defaults on Union debts recognized by the courts, to give a linear increase to all federal employees.

Negotiations in the Senate, however, show that, in order to approve the PEC, the government must change the text and prevent the increase in expenses provided for in the proposal from being used to pay for the readjustment.

In order to try to guarantee the payment of the R$ 400 of Auxílio Brasil in December (which depends on the PEC), the government is considering proposing that the changes being discussed in the Senate be placed in another text — a parallel PEC. Only this second text would go to a vote in the Chamber, while the pillars of the PEC dos Precatório would be promulgated in early December.

The president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), said this Thursday (18th) he did not see space in the text of the PEC dos Precatório already approved by the deputies to grant salary increases to civil servants.

“I absolutely did not see this space, I do not know this space, the numbers that were presented by the Economy to the Chamber of Deputies did not predict this increase”, he said.

The PEC is the main project of interest for the Planalto Palace currently at the Congress. With the proposal, it is possible to increase by nearly R$ 100 billion the margin for spending in 2022, the year in which Bolsonaro intends to run for re-election.

However, this figure is already committed to other measures announced by the government, such as increasing the benefit of Auxílio Brasil to R$400 per month.

On a trip to Dubai and countries in the Middle East, the president, for days on end, repeated that he would like to use the open space in the Budget, with the eventual approval of the PEC dos Precatório, to grant adjustments to servers.

Even the leader of the government in the Senate, Fernando Bezerra Coelho (MDB-PE), who is the rapporteur of the PEC, reacted to Bolsonaro’s statements. “I think the blanket is too short and I believe that all the effort we are making now is not to attend to server readjustments.”

Despite resistance in Congress, the increase promised by Bolsonaro cannot be totally ruled out, but it tends to be reduced. A 5% readjustment, as the government studies, would represent a cost of R$ 15 billion per year.

This amount would put even more pressure on the 2022 Budget, resulting in cuts in amendments and in resources for measures in the social area, such as financial aid for truck drivers — also promised by Bolsonaro.

Amendments are mechanisms used by deputies and senators to send budget money to works and projects on electoral bases. To approve the PEC in the Chamber last week, the government signaled with the release of amendments in the election year.

In case of a readjustment lower than 5% and that does not affect the resources for the social area and amendments, congressional benches aligned with the government or independents must not oppose the measure.

Another factor is that the public service lobby is one of the strongest in the Legislature. In a scenario of strong salary readjustments for all, there is fear in the independent wing of Congress that Bolsonaro will strengthen politically in 2022.

For this reason, despite the tightening of public accounts, the president’s allies have articulated a way to guarantee, at least, a readjustment to the police officers — Bolsonaro’s electoral base. The measure should cost less than R$1 billion next year.

Regarding the Precatório PEC, leaders of the main benches have already stated directly to Bezerra that the text does not go the way it is and that, therefore, it will need to make concessions.

The government leader has already indicated that he accepts to include in the final text the requests of the MDB, PSD and PSDB so that there is a large audit of the precatoria and that the Auxílio Brasil program be permanent.

The leader of the PSDB, Izalci Lucas (DF), says that his bench will meet after a public hearing to discuss the PEC dos Precatório, on Monday (22), so that the party’s senators take a unique position in the vote.

The toucans, however, emphasize that they will not accept “fiscal irresponsibility” and that for this reason the text approved by the Chamber will need to undergo changes. “You can’t have carte blanche to do everything,” says Izalci.

One of the demands of the main benches is an explicit manifestation in the text of the PEC that stamps the resources. They want to make clear the exact amount that will be allocated to Auxílio Brasil, preventing the funds from being allocated for other purposes.

The measure was already being considered by the senators, as soon as the proposal was approved by the Chamber. But it gained strength after Bolsonaro’s speeches in defense of salary increases.

The government initially sought a consensus proposal, as the approval margin is still considered tight. Bezerra claims to have up to 52 votes. 49 votes are required for approval, out of a total of 81 senators.

However, there is fear that this margin of votes will not remain in all the highlights that will be presented, and the government fears eventual defeats.

However, with the difficulty of closing a consensus proposal with senators who presented parallel PECs, the government decided to pursue the strategy of garnering votes from the main benches, even if it has to yield in some points.

Regarding the amendments to make Brazil Aid permanent, Bezerra has said that it can be negotiated that this item be included in the provisional measure that instituted the program, which is being processed in the Chamber, not in the PEC.

The government leader also does not rule out accepting suggestions present in the alternative PEC, proposed by Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE), José Aníbal (PSDB-SP) and Oriovisto Guimarães (Podemos-PR).

This proposal has a mechanism that prevents using the open space in the Budget with the granting of salary adjustments. Although this proposal has lost strength, this instrument has the support of large benches, which normally dictate the pace of votes.

The alternative PEC foresees a space of R$ 89 billion in the Budget. One of the main reasons is that it removes the payment of court orders from the expenditure ceiling, exceptionally next year. The government’s economic team is against this idea.

In addition, some senators expressed opposition to another item in the proposal, which provides for the end of tax incentives.

Another item that caused divergences is the end of the so-called rapporteur’s amendments. The proposal was even presented to Bezerra, but at no time did it gain support from the government, not even from the main benches.

One of the reasons is that Lira and Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), president of the Senate, are working on a draft resolution to make these amendments more transparent.

Danielle Brant collaborated

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