House Speaker Arthur Lira confirmed that a floor vote will take place on Wednesday at 6 pm on a constitutional amendment capping the government’s court-ordered debt repayments to free up budget space for Auxílio Brasil, President Jair Bolsonaro’s new cash-transfer policy.
The government is set to pay BRL 89 billion (USD 15.9 billion) worth of IOU bonds in 2022. By capping these payments at BRL 40 billion, Congress will allow the Citizenship Ministry to hand out monthly stipends of BRL 400 to 17 million people until December 2022, when Mr. Bolsonaro’s term ends.
Mr. Lira failed to put the matter to a vote last week, and met with party leaders earlier today in an attempt to gather support around the bill. The biggest concern at this moment is getting the necessary quorum for a vote during a holiday week, when most members of Congress stay away from Brasília.
The Speaker promised to fine absentees one day’s salary and the government is threatening to cut off congressmen who fail to support the bill from budgetary grants (which require presidential approval).