Coronavirus Funds and Budget Disagreements Amplify Discord between Government and Congress

The Coronavirus became justification for reviewing adjustment of US$ 7.1 billion in the Budget

While the coronavirus advances in Brazil, Bolsonaro and Congress find themselves at an impasse over how to divvy up R$30.8 billion in the government budget.

Under the impasse, the vote in plenary to define the division of these resources was for the next week after the demonstrations scheduled for Sunday (15) in defense of Bolsonaro.

This Wednesday, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared the coronavirus a pandemic. With this development, the government can justify reviewing the agreement. Congress was expected to control R $ 15 billion of the R$ 30.8 billion (US$ 7.1 billion).

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a meeting with the Brazilian community at The Miami Dade College Auditorium, in Miami, Florida, U.S., March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Bello - REUTERS

Parliamentarians agreed to allocate about R$ 5 billion of the amendments by the rapporteur, Deputy Domingos Neto (PSD-CE), to fight the disease. Still, they wanted to keep at least R$ 10 billion in their power.

Amid the negotiations, the Bolsonaro government suffered a significant defeat in the Legislative. Center party leaders had asked their comrades to maintain Bolsonaro's veto of BPC (benefit granted to needy and disabled elderly people). But the effort failed. Congress overthrew Bolsonaro's veto, and the government estimates an increase of R$ 20 billion in expenses per year.

This defeat for Bolsonaro's government put into limbo the discussion for the division of the budget.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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