Jenny Barchfield – AP, 04/18/2016
President Dilma Rousseff said Monday she is “indignant” over a congressional vote to open impeachment proceedings against her and vowed to fight what she called the injustice. She again categorically ruled out resigning.
In her first public appearance since the Chamber of Deputies voted 367-137 late Sunday to send the impeachment proceedings to the Senate for a possible trial, Brazil’s first female president appeared shaken but delivered a message of defiance.
Rousseff repeated the words “indignant,” ”injustice” and “wronged” dozens of times during her news conference in the presidential palace. She also repeated her long-stated position that she hasn’t done anything illegal and is the victim of a “coup” orchestrated by her political foes.
AP/The New York Times, 04/11/2016
A congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff move forward, bringing the possible ouster of the embattled leader a step closer.
Rousseff is facing impeachment proceedings over allegations her administration violated fiscal rules to mask budget problems. Her opponents say the process is in line with the wishes of the majority of Brazilians, while Rousseff’s supporters call it a blatant power grab by her foes.
The special congressional commission voted 38-27 to recommend the continuation of the impeachment process — comfortably more than the 33 votes needed to hand the pro-impeachment camp a victory.
Paula Sambo – Bloomberg, 04/11/2016
Brazil’s real advanced on growing speculation the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff is drawing closer as Congress prepared for key votes on the process this week.
Brazil’s currency, the most volatile in emerging markets as traders try to gauge the outlook for a complicated impeachment effort, gained 0.5 percent to 3.5742 per dollar at 9:21 a.m. in Sao Paulo. The real was the world’s best performing currency in the first quarter on wagers that bringing in a new government will help pull Brazil out of its worst recession in a century and shore up a record fiscal deficit.
Newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo reported more lawmakers are in favor of removing Rousseff as a special committee in the lower house was scheduled to vote Monday on whether to move forward with the impeachment request. The full house could vote as early as April 17, either squelching impeachment or setting the stage for Rousseff’s ouster in the Senate. The real tumbled last year as Brazil lost its coveted investment-grade status and a sweeping corruption scandal hit businesses and the government.
In order to prevent president Dilma’s impeachment, the presidency is conducting a thorough research regarding the origin of the political nomination in government jobs in Brasilia and in other states. Its objective is to trace back the original political nominators of public workers in order to have an accurate number of supporters and to prevent nominations from congressmen who publicly announced their support for the impeachment, such as the president of Congress, Eduardo Cunha. Once they have a precise number of political supporters, it becomes easier to negotiate the nominations for the new committee in favor of the worker’s party government.
The presidency also understands the difficulty in tracking down every government nominations throughout the years. Given the extensive amount of political parties and affiliations, it is challenging to have an exact number of people. Currently, the number of supporters in Congress is estimated to be 250 votes against the process of impeachment. Although 250 votes are enough to offset the process of impeachment, it is still considerably low considering previous party coalitions.
Read original article in Portuguese…
Summary by Julia Fonteles, Staff Intern at the Brazil Institute and a Junior at the George Washington University.
Raymond Colitt and Arnaldo Galvao – Bloomberg Business, 8/6/2015
Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted for spending increases hours after two parties broke from President Dilma Rousseff’s ruling coalition, further eroding support for her measures to shore up the country’s fiscal accounts.
The lower house approved in a first round vote a constitutional amendment by 445 against 16 votes granting salary increases to police chiefs, prosecutors and government attorneys. The bill still needs to pass a second round vote before going to the Senate.
Earlier, leaders of the Brazilian Labor Party and the Democratic Labor Party, or PTB and PDT, said they would act independently and no longer participate in meetings of the ruling coalition. The parties together have 44 out of 513 seats in the Chamber.
Arnaldo Falcao and Mario Sergio Lima – Bloomberg Business, 7/08/2015
Brazil’s Congress approved legislation that raises government expenditures on retirement benefits, setting up a showdown with President Dilma Rousseff’s administration that opposes spending increases.
Senators on Wednesday voted in favor of the proposal that lifts retirement payouts every year by the same formula used to calculate minimum-wage hikes. The lower house last month introduced the measure as an amendment to a bill that increases the minimum wage. The minimum-wage bill and measure on pension payments now go to Rousseff, who is expected to issue a veto.
That would be her second veto this year of a bill that increases government expenditures. Last month she vetoed legislation that allowed Brazilians to receive a higher pension at a younger age, replacing it with stricter requirements for collecting retirement benefits.
Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 5/29/2015
RIO DE JANEIRO — An evangelical Christian who plays rock drums and has been likened to Frank Underwood, the ambitious schemer in the Netflix series “House of Cards,” has upended Brazil’s politics since being elected speaker of the country’s lower house four months ago.
Eduardo Cunha hasn’t merely hobbled President Dilma Rousseff’s coalition government, in which his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party is supposedly her most important ally. His actions have threatened to derail the coalition just months into her second term, leading a string of revolts that have opened wide fissures in the fragile alliances.
Raymond Colitt and Arnaldo Galvao – Bloomberg Business, 5/11/2015
Brazil’s Finance Minister Joaquim Levy is up against a ticking clock to convince reluctant legislators to push austerity measures through Congress.
Two decrees that cut social-security spending by as much as 14.5 billion reais ($4.74 billion) lapse June 1 if they don’t pass Congress. A separate bill to raise 12.8 billion reais in corporate-payroll taxes this year has stalled, meaning the government is being denied the projected revenue.
A standoff last week over unemployment benefits reflects the reluctance inside President Dilma Rousseff’s coalition to pay the political price for shoring up Brazil’s public coffers. That, and a Senate chief critical of the proposals, will put Levy’s savvy to its biggest test yet, said Brasilia-based political analyst Andre Cesar.
PanAm Post, 5/6/2015
The Brazilian Senate passed a vote of no-confidence on Tuesday against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro over the “arbitrary detention” of members of the opposition.
The text, written by Senator Roberto Jucá of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), “rejects” the arrests of the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma — imprisoned since February— and opposition leader Leopoldo López, who has been in jail for 14 months, as well as the detention of other dissidents.
The body approved the text on the eve of a visit by López’s and Ledezma’s wives, Mitzy Capriles and Lilian Tintori respectively, to the Brazilian Congress to present allegations of human-rights violations in Venezuela.
Paulo Trevisani and Djania Savoldi – The Wall Street Journal, 5/6/2015
BRASÍLIA—Brazil’s lower house of Congress on Wednesday approved the first of two controversial austerity measures aimed at cutting government spending on worker benefits.
While the measure must still be approved by the Senate, Wednesday’s result was seen as a significant victory for embattled President Dilma Rousseff, who has been advocating fiscal reforms to avoid a potential downgrade of Brazil’s sovereign debt.
The Chamber of Deputies voted 252-to-227 to, among other changes, make it tougher for workers to qualify for unemployment benefits, doubling the minimum time worked to 12 months. The vote comes after weeks of intense negotiations, as lawmakers from Ms. Rousseff’s own labor-backed governing Workers’ Party, or PT, had threatened to kill the bill on fears the measure would alienate their core constituents.