Brazil’s Lower House Approves Bill That Eases Austerity Law

Brazil’s lower house of congress passed a controversial proposal that bends the country’s fiscal rules to finance a new social program President Jair Bolsonaro is launching ahead of his 2022 re-election campaign, Bloomberg News reported. The so-called precatorios bill was approved late on Tuesday by 323-172 votes, a wider margin of support than it had received just a week ago. It now needs the backing of three-fifths of senators, also in two rounds of voting. Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco still has to decide whether the proposal will be analyzed by the constitution and justice committee before the floor vote. Bolsonaro is running against the clock to approve the constitutional amendment by the second week of November in order to boost, still this year, handouts paid by his flagship Auxilio Brasil program. The president, whose popularity had dropped to all-time lows, has promised to pay 400 reais ($72) per month to about 17 million poor families through the end of next year. Read more.