Congress indicates R$ 6.1 billion in amendments to the so-called “secret budget”
Planalto tried to postpone offices until after the elections, but Lira unlocked negotiations in exchange for support for the PEC
With the government pressured by the vote on the Proposed Amendment to the Electoral Constitution (PEC) and the opening of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Ministry of Education (MEC)O Congress indicated R$ 6.1 billion in amendments to the so-called secret budget in two weeks. The value is practically double what had already been indicated since the beginning of May. According to data from the Joint Budget Commission (CMO), R$ 12.3 billion of this type of amendment has already been indicated this year, so far.
The requests were forwarded by federal deputy Hugo Leal (PSD-RJ) and published this Tuesday. According to sources who participated in the negotiations, the Executive tried to hold this last wave of nominations until after the elections, since there is BRL 16 billion to spend on rapporteur amendments by the end of the year, just BRL 4 billion more than already was distributed.
Nominations are a part of the budget process. Those orders are now in the hands of the federal government. Current legislation does not oblige the government to spend the money, but prevents Palácio do Planalto from passing on the resource to other beneficiaries. In practice, however, the Executive Branch and Congress have acted jointly in releasing the secret budget.
In 2020, the federal government committed 97.9% of the secret budget provided for in the Annual Budget Law. The following year, the compliance rate was even higher, 99.1%. Commitment is the guarantee that money will be spent.
Most of these expenses are earmarked for works and services in the electoral bases of parliamentarians.
Electoral legislation prevents the transfer of resources in the three months before the election, a period that began last Saturday. So far, the government has already committed R$ 7.7 billion of the total forecast for this year (R$ 16.5 billion).
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), who is working in favor of the Electoral PEC in the Chamber — a proposal that allows increasing Aid Brazil on the eve of the elections — and managed to unlock the negotiation. He promised support for the PEC on the condition that the Executive manages to honor the releases, according to sources familiar with the matter.
If the government is pressured by the Electoral PEC in the Chamber, in the Senate, the creation of a CPI of the MEC makes the Executive invest in serving senators.
The congressman who signed the most allocations until July 1st was Senator Wellington Fagundes (PL-MT), with R$ 150 million; followed by the president of the Chamber, who allocated R$ 134 million. In ninth place, was the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), responsible for R$ 93.5 million in resources.
The Secret Budget gained notoriety during the Bolsonaro government, when congressmen boosted the so-called rapporteur amendments. Until last year, the authorship of the nominations was secret: that is, it was difficult to identify which parliamentarian was responsible for the nomination of the resources. As of this year, following a decision by Minister Rosa Weber, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the Joint Budget Commission will make available the list of nominations for each deputy.
In the last week, deputies and advisors lined up in front of the office of the Presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, where requests are controlled, to guarantee their share of the rapporteur’s amendments cake. Leaders heard complaints in their parties, as not all of them were covered: 74% of deputies managed to make nominations, but while some parliamentarians managed to obtain tens of millions of reais, 269 deputies were left with less than R$15 million.
In the Federal Senate, there was also no distribution for all: 48 of 81 senators made nominations. They won more than the deputies, however. The average per senator is R$ 54.9 million in nominations, while the deputies served so far have been entitled to R$ 14.9 million, according to a survey by GLOBO.
There is no transparency on all orders. According to people close to the presidents of the Chamber and Senate, the nominations made by opposition parliamentarians have been registered as if they had been made by “external users”, with the names of city council advisors and even the mayors themselves appearing as authors. R$ 3.9 billion have been indicated in this modality so far, which undermines transparency.
In the proposed Budget Guidelines Law (LDO) approved by the Joint Budget Committee last week, there is a forecast that, next year, this type of request from an “external user” will have to be accompanied by the contemplated parliamentarian, even when it is formalized by someone outside the National Congress.
Source: O Globo Agency