LatinNews Daily - 04 March 2021

In brief: Brazilís senate moves closer to approval of key reform

* Brazil’s senate has approved in a first round of voting a constitutional amendment (the ‘PEC emergencial’) which will allow the government to issue debt to fund a new round of financial aid, which will be balanced out by spending controls. This PEC was initially presented by President Jair Bolsonaro’s government in late 2019, with the aim of introducing new mechanisms to control public spending and keep fiscal costs down; the issue of distributing financial aid to help the vulnerable in the context of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic was only recently incorporated into the PEC. The text will allow the government to bypass a constitutional spending cap and limits on public debt to spend up to R$44bn (US$7.8bn) on a new round of pandemic aid. The PEC requires a three-fifths majority in another vote in the senate and two rounds of voting in the chamber to be approved.