Pacheco postpones vote on PEC that expands Auxílio Brasil, gas voucher and creates benefits for truck drivers | Policy

The president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), postponed this Thursday (29) the vote on the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC), which, among other things, temporarily expands Auxílio Brasil, the gas voucher, and creates a voucher to be paid to truck drivers.

The proposal was on the agenda of the House at the session this Wednesday (29), but, after a request from several senators, Pacheco postponed the vote to this Thursday (30).

Originally, the “PEC dos Combustíveis” provided for compensation to states that exempted fuels. But, faced with doubts about the effectiveness of the measure, the rapporteur Fernando Bezerra (MDB-PE) presented a substitute, a new version of the text, which provides for a set of social benefits (see further below).

Senators argued that Bezerra’s report was only presented on the morning of this Wednesday (29) and requested more time to analyze the opinion. At the request of several parliamentarians, Pacheco postponed the vote to this Thursday (30).

Originally, the “PEC dos Combustíveis” provided for a compensation of BRL 29.6 billionfrom Union resources, to states that had zero ICMS on diesel, cooking gas and natural gas.

However, there were doubts about the effectiveness of new tax changes on prices charged at gas stations, so Bezerra presented a new version of the text.

The social package proposed by the former government leader in the Senate has an estimated cost of BRL 38.7 billion – a high expenditure of federal resources about three months before the elections, in which Jair Bolsonaro will seek re-election and in which congressmen will also participate.

To avoid prohibitions in the electoral legislation, Bezerra included in the text the forecast of a state of emergency in the country.

Current legislation prevents the creation of new social benefits in an election year – as a rule, benefits can only be granted in authorized programs that are already in budget execution. However, the law leaves a loophole in case of public calamity or emergency.

When announcing the decision this Wednesday (27), Bezerra informed that the measure is motivated by the “extraordinary and unpredictable rise in the prices of oil, fuels and their derivatives and the resulting social impacts”.

For the senator, this scenario exacerbates the economic crisis and food insecurity, which justifies the declaration of a state of emergency. According to Bezerra, the measure was supported by the Senate consultancy.

In general terms, the proposal foresees until the end of this year:

  • Brazil Aid: expansion from R$400 to R$600 per month and registration of 1.6 million new families in the program (estimated cost: R$26 billion);
  • Self-employed truck drivers: creation of a “voucher” worth R$ 1 thousand (estimated cost: R$ 5.4 billion);
  • Gas Assistance: Increase of R$ 53 for the value of a cylinder every two months (the current average price of a 13 kg cylinder, according to the ANP, is R$ 112.60; estimated cost: R$ 1.05 billion);
  • Free transport for seniors: compensation to states to provide free public transport for the elderly, already provided for by law (estimated cost: R$ 2.5 billion);
  • Ethanol: Transfer of up to R$ 3.8 billion, through tax credits, to maintain the competitiveness of ethanol over gasoline.

In this Wednesday’s session (29), the rapporteur Fernando Bezerra, in response to a request from senators from the opposition and from the MDB, announced the withdrawal of an excerpt from the proposal that was considered a “white check” for the government to increase expenses due to of the state of emergency provided for in the proposal.

The excerpt removed said that, in order to face the impacts resulting from the recognized state of emergency, the measures implemented would not be subject to fences or restrictions “provided for in regulations of any nature”.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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