Government enters the field, articulates PEC to change rite of MPs in Congress and aims for ceasefire between Chamber and Senate

Parliamentarians heard by Jovem Pan criticize ‘superpower’ accumulated by Lira in text analysis; Planalto works to prevent 15 edited Provisional Measures from losing their validity

Jefferson Rudy/Agência SenadoPresident of the Federal Senate, Senator Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), and President of the Chamber of Deputies, Deputy Arthur Lira (PP-AL)

The construction of a Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) may be the alternative to end the most recent crisis between the Chamber of Deputies and the federal Senate. This time, the impasse involves the processing rite of the Provisional Measures (MPs) in the Brazilian Parliament. The initiative, authored by the President of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), is seen as an indication of a truce between the leaders of the two Legislative Houses. The reason for the quarrels between Lira and Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), president of Congress, is the opposite position of the centrão deputy to the resumption of joint committees for analysis and discussion of provisional measures. Since 2002, edited MPs were analyzed by a mixed commission, composed of 12 deputies and 12 senators, and an equal number of substitutes, who discussed and voted on the project, then sent to the plenary sessions. However, during the pandemic, the work of the commissions was suspended, and the provisional measures began to be considered first in the Chamber and then in the Senate. The change continued to be adopted even after the end of the health emergency, which displeased members of Casa Alta, who complained about the delay of deputies in analyzing the texts. In practice, this drained the powers of senators, who had short deadlines to discuss more in-depth changes to the texts. In political jargon, the 81 parliamentarians became mere rubber stamps for decisions. “On a daily basis, the Senate has been hampered by the sending of measures that are about to expire”, he summarized to the Jovem Pan’s website the senator Louis Carlos Heinze (PP-SC), exposing the problematic situation.

With the cooling of the pandemic and the return of face-to-face work in Congress in February of this year, Rodrigo Pacheco signed an act determining the return of commissions. Lira, however, did not follow the same path. And there is a practical explanation for this: the current ritual gives more power to the leader of the Centrão, who gains bargaining power to negotiate the approval of the provisional measures with the Planalto Palace. The imbroglio paralyzed the processing of the MPs and resulted in the judicialization of the issue: Senator Alessandro Viera (PSDB-SE) filed a writ of mandamus at the Federal Supreme Court (STF), “in view of the failure of the President of the Chamber to resume the rite provisional measures”. The report, he said he hoped that “the Constitution will be complied with” and stated that “agreements do not overcome non-compliance with the Constitution”, stressing that the idea of ​​a PEC to change the rite of provisional measures “does not make sense and does not resolve the non-compliance that is already present”. In other words, he alleges that the constitutional norm “should apply to all” and he affirms that, now, it will be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether Arthur Lira “is the king of Brazil”. “Preventing the formation of a joint commission and holding debates on topics relevant to the country is yet another authoritarian and illegal act by Lira,” added the senator.

More than paralyzing the work of the Legislative, the arm wrestling between the Chamber and the Senate dragged the Lula government to the epicenter of the crisis, since there are about 15 provisional measures already edited awaiting the appreciation of Congress. One deals with government restructuring and expires in April. If not voted on by both Houses, ultimately, the public structure of the Lula 3 administration would once again have the configuration of the Bolsonaro government. In other words, it would go back to square one. Another MP that awaits the approval of the parliamentarians is the reencumbrance of fuels. As a result, Planalto organizers entered the field to articulate the creation of a proposal that would change a section of the Constitution, suppressing the need to form joint committees to analyze MPs. In practice, the idea definitively puts an end to joint commissions and provides for alternation in the prerogative of the Houses in initiating the analysis of texts. The leader of the government in Congress, senator Randolph Rodrigues (Rede-AM), assesses that the PEC can end the impasse between the Houses, which made it impossible for the MPs to vote. Plateau leaders and base senators even estimate that they can approve the proposal by April 5th.

“It is in the interest of the government to resolve this controversy as soon as possible”, said the parliamentarian. He assured that there is no fear that the measures will expire and claims to be “very optimistic”. “We are very close to that solution,” he added. However, the position is not a consensus among base parliamentarians. the senator Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), for example, argues that the discussion on the PEC does not remove the need for the Constitution to be fulfilled immediately and demands the installation of commissions, regardless of future changes. “Processing of the PECs has nothing to do with compliance with the constitutional rule. This fulfillment must be done immediately. He (Arthur Lira) cannot prevent the Senate from fulfilling its role, ”he says. Renan and Lira, it should be said, are political opponents in the state of Alagoas.

Calheiros’ reasoning is defended by Fabiano Contarato (PT-ES), leader of the Workers’ Party in the Federal Senate. In the report, the petista recognized that the parliamentarians of the Upper House cannot be “dogmatic and intransigent regarding the established rites”, but said that, currently, the absence of the committees means that the provisional measures reach the Senate “in the process of expiring, making the House a mere rubber stamp of what was decided by the Chamber”. Contarato also evaluates the possibility of changing the course of action, but states that any change must be “guided by equality between the Houses, without depreciating the performance of the Senate or the Chamber”. “Understanding and dialogue will always be the broad roads through which our democracy must travel. The Constitution, however, must always be followed, without prejudice to debating any amendments”, he concluded. Current leader of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), senator Jorge Kajuru (PSB-GO) told the Jovem Pan website that he participated in the leaders’ meeting last Thursday, the 16th, which dealt with the MPs and that the tension between Lira and Pacheco is over. “I made this statement with President Pacheco. He told me that everything is fine, that he really moved away (from Lira) and there was a week that they didn’t speak, but that they understood each other regarding the procedure. It will take turns, one there and one here. Until yesterday it was not fine, but from today everything is fine, ”he assured.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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