Government wants congressional authorization to break “golden rule”

The Minister of the Economy Paulo Guedes wants the prior authorization of Congress to break the golden rule of the budget. Photo: Edu Andrade / Ascom / ME

The proposed amendment to the Constitution (PEC), which aims to allow payment of precatório payments in installments, won a “turtle” inserted by the executive itself. The Ministry of the Economy included in the text the authorization for the government to ignore the so-called “golden rule” of the budget without needing specific authorizations from Congress.

The subject is unrelated to the original purpose of the CEP, which is the payment by installments of debts resulting from court decisions. The addition of this type of device is generally referred to as a “turtle”, but it is customary for it to be inserted by members of Congress while the proposal is being processed – and not by the author himself, in the process. this case, the executive.

Although the precatório PEC has been a priority issue for the Economy Ministry since last week, until Tuesday (10) the members of the dossier had made no mention of the idea of ​​changing the execution of the rule. Golden. The matter came as a surprise during the day, and was only clarified by the record in a note sent that evening.

Written in the Constitution, the golden rule prohibits the government from borrowing to pay for current expenses. The idea is that the issuance of debt, to be paid for many years and for future generations, will only be used to finance public investments, disbursements that will give a sort of return. However, as the country has posted primary deficits since 2014 – it spends more than it collects, even before the payment of the public debt – it was impossible to respect this rule without resorting to subterfuge, such as the early repayment of transfers. carried out at the BNDES. , for example. And more recently, even this kind of maneuver has not been enough.

As a result, in recent years the government has started to “warn” in the budget that the execution of certain expenditures – pensions, social benefits and the like, in the hundreds of billions of reais – will depend on specific authorizations from Congress for them. one-off non-managers. respect for the golden rule. Thus, the Executive must request the approval, during the execution of the Budget, of additional or special appropriations for a specific purpose. These credits must be approved one by one by parliamentarians, by absolute majority.

What the government now intends, with the device inserted in the precatório PEC, is that Parliament’s authorization to violate the golden rule be given in advance, already during the discussion of the draft law. annual finance (PLOA). The government has until the end of the month to submit the PLOA for 2022.

“The CEP aims to improve and streamline the current, delaying process by establishing the need to submit subsequent approval by the National Congress, by absolute majority, of an additional appropriation for spending that had already approved by members of Congress, during the process of the finance bill, “said the Ministry of the Economy in a statement.

“This year, for example, the finance law was not enacted until the end of April, and until then the executive branch was prevented from sending additional credit bills or special, including those related to the golden rule. depended on the approval of these credits, such as payroll, ”the statement continued.

The PEC also provides that in the event of an insufficiency observed during the execution of the Budget, the “original” rite will be respected. That is, Congress will have to authorize additional or special funds for a specific purpose.

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