In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Brazil’s lower house passed the so-called “War Budget” bill, which allows for the creation of a supplementary budget to be used especially for actions in the fight against Covid-19 and its economic side effects. If sanctioned by the president, it would be enforced while Brazil is under a state of public calamity — which will be until December 31 of this year. With the goal of facilitating emergency spending, the bill would allow the government to circumvent austerity rules — increasing the deficit in order to boost spending on healthcare and social aid.
During a press conference on Friday, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said that, if approved, the bill will allow his ministry to start stimulus payments within 24 hours. The bill also provides for the creation of a Crisis Management Committee, which would be presided over by President Jair Bolsonaro and made up of representatives from different branches and levels. As a constitutional amendment, the bill must now be approved by the Senate in a two-round vote that calls for a 60-percent majority.