RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On the eve of the congressional vote on the Social Welfare reform in the Chamber of Deputies, the government has paved the way for the release of funds for Congress members’ districts, seeking votes to pass the bill.
The government has released R$1.13 billion (US$283 million) in funds stemming from riders (amendments) attached to legislation by individual Congress members. The funds are focused on the health sector.
According to a survey by the NGO Contas Abertas, the amount pledged in the first five days of July exceeds the sum released throughout the year, up until June.
The decision has been officially published in 37 ordinances issued on Monday evening, July 8th, in two special editions of the Federal Gazette (DOU).
Furthermore, the ordinances designate the municipalities of several states that are eligible to receive the funds, which shall be used to “temporarily increase the Financial Limit of Medium and High Complexity Assistance (MAC).”
This commitment by the executive branch is the first step towards the release of funds appearing in the federal budget, preceding disbursement. It is a form of guarantee that the funds, which have been voted by Congress, will actually be released.
Because the funds will benefit the home districts of numerous members of Congress, the government expects to obtain the votes needed to pass the reform; voting was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, July 9th.