Opinion

Brazil’s House opens up committees to interest groups. What does it mean?

The decision to allow the interest groups in lawmaking committees has been criticized, it could create an opportunity for transparency

congress committees democracy
People wait for lawmakers to leave a committee meeting in Congress. Photo: Edilson Rodrigues/AS/CN/CC-BY

The so-called “permanent committees” in Brazil’s Congress are crucial to the country’s legislative process. Whenever a new bill is submitted to the House or Senate, the first course of action is its assignment to up to three congressional committees for analysis. Both chambers have dozens of these boards, comprising members of parliament, each focusing on specific issues. After the committee debates a given bill, an appointed rapporteur produces a review — which may include changes to the proposal — that is then voted on by the full board.

Only after a bill is approved by all relevant committees may...

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