Congress maintains veto on Eletrobras privatization law

Congress enacts PEC that increases social benefits until December

The National Congress promulgated today (14) the amendment to the Constitution that provides for the creation of a state of emergency to expand the payment of social benefits until the end of the year. The Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) went through a quick process, and with some controversy, until its approval yesterday (13), in the last week before the legislative recess.Congress enacts PEC that increases social benefits until December

The text provides for an increase of R$ 200 in Auxílio Brasil until December 31 of this year. The PEC also proposes, until the end of the year, an aid of R$ 1 thousand for truck drivers, kitchen gas vouchers and reinforcement of the Alimenta Brasil program, in addition to installments of R$ 200 for taxi drivers, financing of free public transport for seniors and compensation for states that reduce the tax burden on biofuels.

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 covid-19 pandemic.

The provision was included because, according to the legislation, there can be no granting of new benefits or distribution of values ​​in an election year, except in exceptional cases, such as the state of emergency.

According to the president of Congress, Senator Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), the PEC is the result of an action taken by the parliament to help those most in need. “The amendment that we are now enacting aims to alleviate for the Brazilian population the harmful economic and social effects arising from the inflationary process observed in recent months in almost all countries of the world.”

Pacheco attributed the economic crisis to the war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the “slow resumption of global distribution and logistics chains that were severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

According to data brought by him in his speech, the number of Brazilians entering poverty reached 11 million, totaling 47.3 million people in the poverty or extreme poverty zone. The number represents 22.3% of the population, the highest percentage in ten years.

Procedure

The amendment enacted today consolidates the wording of two PECs (15/22 and 1/22), without changing the merits already approved in the Senate for PEC 1/22. PEC 1, which provides for the payment of social benefits, was added to PEC 15, which deals with fuels and was already at an advanced stage of processing in the Chamber. Reducing the impact of rising fuel prices was the initial intention of the proposal. Later, the government decided to include an increase in Auxílio Brasil, even in an election year.

Despite the fact that many opposition parliamentarians considered the proposal to grant an increase with a fixed expiration date to be electoral, the PEC received massive approval from the opposition, both in the Senate and in the Chamber. According to parliamentarians, it would be incoherent to vote against an increase in aid, whatever it may be, for the poorest.

The opposition in the Chamber, however, presented highlights to remove from the text the forecast of the state of emergency, in addition to the five-month time limit for the payment of additional installments of Auxílio Brasil. But the highlights were defeated in plenary.

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