Covid hearings get two more sponsors in Brazil’s Senate

Senate floor. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr
Senate floor. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

Two more senators have signed the request to open a hearings committee in the Brazilian Senate to investigate the government’s pandemic response. Signatories now amount to 34 out of 81 senators.

Why it matters: Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco is set to submit the request to the floor on Tuesday. After that, senators who sponsored the opening of the committee have until midnight of the same day to withdraw their support. With two new backers to the probe, the Jair Bolsonaro administration’s hopes of convincing lawmakers to defect has just become even harder.

It will take significant amounts of horse-trading to manage enough defections to quash the request. But with budget issues still hanging over the government, it seems doubtful it will have the firepower to sway enough lawmakers.

On a curious note, one of the new sponsors of the pandemic hearings is Chico Rodrigues, who was targeted by a Federal Police investigation into the embezzlement of BRL 15 million earmarked for the fight against Covid-19 by members of Congress. He was suspended from office for nearly five months — after Feds found around BRL 30,000 in cash in the senator’s home, with part of the money soiled due to being stashed “between his buttocks.”