After an arm wrestling that has dragged on for more than 50 days between senators and the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), decided, this Thursday (23), that the analysis of provisional measures sent by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the National Congress will again follow the rite provided for by the Federal Constitution.
Since 2020, to streamline the work of parliamentarians, who started having remote sessions, due to the covid-19 pandemic, a joint act of the House and Senate tables eliminated the need for review by MPs in joint committees. Thus, provisional measures began to be analyzed directly in plenary – first in the Chamber, for 90 days, and then in the Senate, for 30 days –, with amendments allowed. The measure was justified, at the time, as extremely exceptional due to the emergency health measures imposed by the pandemic.
With the decision of the President of the Senate, in respect of a previous agreement with the President of the Chamber, Arthur Lira, the MPs that were sent by the government of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), which will still be appreciated by Congress, will follow the rite adopted during the pandemic of direct voting in the plenary. The MPs sent by the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will go through the mixed commissions, which must immediately have their members appointed by the leaders of each House. In each MP analysis, the presidency and the rapporteurship of the collegiate bodies alternates between deputies and senators.
Pacheco’s decision is a response to a point of order, presented to the Senate Board, by the majority leader, Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), asking for the immediate return of the functioning of the joint committees with prior analysis of the committees, as it was before the pandemic. This is because the processing of MPs sent by the Lula government – including the reorganization of the Esplanada and the reencumbrance of fuels – is blocked in Congress due to the lack of consensus between the legislative houses.
Unanimously supported by the leaders of the House, Renan Calheiros recalled that the MP’s appreciation, without the need to go through a joint committee, is meaningless, since it was authorized by act of Congress in 2020, in a very exceptional nature. “The validity of this exception was confirmed by decision of Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the STF, only during the state of public calamity”, said Renan Calheiros.
Despite the issue being considered pacified in the Senate, and with the discussion overdue, in the Chamber, Arthur Lira gave clear signs that there is still nothing resolved about the impasse. While Pacheco still meets this Thursday with the College of Leaders to close the issue on the controversy and take his decision to the plenary, Lira, also after meeting the leaders of the House, classified the decision as “truculent” and threatened not to comply with Pacheco’s determination , who is also the president of the National Congress.
Deputy Arthur Lira defends maintaining the current rite, in which MPs are voted on first in the Chamber and then in the Senate, skipping the stage of the joint committees. “This gesture [primeiro análise pelas comissões mistas] that won’t lead anywhere. We do not advocate going against the Constitution, but we want a more current rite, which meets the demands of both houses. We don’t want war, but it wasn’t me who changed the text and I changed it with my word. The truculent mixed commission will not walk with provisional measures. Government leaders want the current rite to be obeyed. This is a unilateral decision that will not help Brazil”, he criticized.
Lira also assesses that the Chamber feels underrepresented in the joint committees. “It would be 12 [representantes] of 513 deputies, while the Senate [que tem 81 parlamentares] would be overrepresented. What does it cost to find an alternative and give in? Our proposal was for Pacheco to make this gesture, and we would distension 13 MPs from the previous government and build a PEC with the new reality”, he said.
According to Arthur Lira, before going directly to plenary, when the materials arrived, they were short term and many MPs expired. “During the period in which the rite established by the pandemic was in place, I challenge the Senate to prove that some matter was referred to them without time for appreciation,” he said.
The president of the Chamber said that he “continues with all good will” to sit down with Pacheco, without the presence of more radical senators in the conduct of the theme, for a consensus. In a reference to senator Renan Calheiros, his political foe in Alagoas, the mayor intensified the criticism by stating that he is “having difficulty understanding who is in charge of the Senate”. For Lira, there is interference from political disputes in Alagoas in Pacheco’s decisions.