Chamber concludes voting in the first round of the Social Benefits PEC

The Chamber of Deputies concluded today (13) the vote in the first round of the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) 15 of 2022, which creates a state of emergency to expand the payment of social benefits until the end of the year. This Wednesday, parliamentarians rejected all highlights, that is, proposals that could still modify parts of the measure. Among them, the one that provided for the removal of the expression “state of emergency” from the text.Chamber concludes voting in the first round of the Social Benefits PECChamber concludes voting in the first round of the Social Benefits PEC

the base text was approved last night, but the session was suspended due to a blackout in the Casa’s computer system.

The Social Benefits PEC generates BRL 41.2 billion in exceptional expenses, that is, outside the spending ceiling, divided between social benefits, such as the Auxílio Brasil and the kitchen gas voucher, and economic benefits, such as the concession of tax credit for reducing taxes for ethanol producers and distributors. The measures are valid from August 1 to December 31, 2022.

emergency state

To this end, the PEC establishes a state of emergency “due to the extraordinary and unpredictable rise in the prices of oil, fuel and its derivatives and the resulting social impacts”. In practice, it is as if the government declared that the country is experiencing an exceptional moment, as occurred during the pandemic of the new coronavirus (covid-19).

For deputy Dr. Frederico (Patriotas-MG) the measure is necessary in view of the increase in the expectation of inflation that affects Brazil and several countries around the world. “If we are experiencing the highest inflation in the United States and Europe in the last 40 years, we cannot say that it is not an emergency of an economic nature”, he defended.

In the opinion of deputy Renildo Calheiros (PCdoB-PE), the measure has an electoral character as it allows the government to overcome the restrictions of electoral legislation, which prohibits creating or expanding benefits or advantages during an election year, except in cases of public calamity, state of emergency or social programs authorized by law and already in budget execution in the previous year. “We are creating a contraption that nobody knows how to wear, because there is no regulation”, criticized Calheiros. “If fuel prices are high, it is because the government has established a policy that has dollarized the price of oil in Brazil,” he added.

virtual session

Before voting on the highlights, deputies from various parties criticized the decision of the president of the House, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), to hold the session of virtual way. The decision came after the resumption of the suspended session last night due to a “blackout” in the Casa’s computer systems.

“Parallel systems went down at the same time, the Chamber was left without communication. Our intention was to preserve a regimental possibility so that deputies could express their will”, said Lira

Deputy Glauber Braga (PSol-RJ) said that the change was to prevent the opposition from approving a highlight, authored by the PT, removing the expression “state of emergency” from the PEC. According to Braga, Lira suspended yesterday’s session in an anti-regime manner and called a virtual session today to ensure that allies voted against the removal of the expression.

“Parliamentary members who are allied to him and those from the government base are no longer in Brasília and he is afraid of not getting enough votes for a PEC that requires 308 favorable votes”, he criticized. “Here is the Chamber’s internal regulations. There is no internal regiment here for deputy Arthur Lira, president of the Chamber of Deputies”, added Braga.

Deputies from the allied base defended the maintenance of the expression, with the argument that it gives more legal certainty for the government to carry out the expenses.

“It is important that we vote for a state of emergency because Brazil needs this support. The government is not using this for electoral purposes. We are in an election year, but in a year in which we are emerging from a pandemic and a world war”, defended deputy Soraya Manato (PTB-ES).

By 361 votes against and 142 in favour, the emphasis that wanted to remove the expression state of emergency from the text of the PEC was rejected. Among the highlights rejected, there is still the one that foresaw the removal of the text of the expression “unpredictable”. There were 354 against and 131 in favor.

The deputies also rejected a highlight of the PSB, which removed from the text the forecast that the extra payment of the Brazil aid will take place within a period of five months, until December 31, 2022.

The government leader in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), took a stand against the initiative, arguing that the payment would have to be exceptional, even after the elections, as it is an emergency measure. “What we are discussing now is an important matter, it is everyone’s wish that we could take this R$600 increase forever, but an emergency is not forever. It takes place at a given moment, in a context where we have two years of pandemic, war in Russia and Ukraine, increase in fuel and energy prices around the world, very high inflation”, said Barros.

In defending the highlight, deputy Marcelo Freixo (PSB-RJ) stated that the intention was to remove the electoral character of the measure and make the extension of the benefit permanent. “What we are proposing is to remove the electoral, opportunistic character and say that we are going to protect Brazilian families who are hungry. Ensuring that this aid is permanent until the moment we no longer have hunger, misery and not until the moment defined by a government in its final stretch”.

With the conclusion of the voting in the first round, the intention is to conclude the voting of the second round this Thursday. To this end, the government wants to approve a request with the breaking of the regimental interstice of five sessions, provided for in the legislation as a deadline for voting between the two rounds.

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