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Rousseff Faces Congressional Override of Brazil Oil Bill Veto

Brazilian lawmakers will try to override President Dilma Rousseff’s veto of some parts of an oil royalties bill, which would be the first such congressional challenge since she took office almost two years ago.

Rousseff on Nov. 30 vetoed parts of legislation granting more revenue from recent offshore oil finds to non-producing states. Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral said the loss of revenue could bankrupt his state ahead the 2016 Summer Olympics, which are to be held in Rio.

Non-producing states have a majority in congress and their representatives are ready to make Rousseff’s veto the first issue on congress’s agenda, Senator Alvaro Dias, the leader of the main opposition party said yesterday.

“It’s usually very hard to reject a veto, but this opportunity is unique,” said the leader of the Social Democracy Party of Brazil, or PSDB, in a telephone interview from Brasilia.

Brazil’s economy grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter from the previous period, half the pace forecast by economists. The government has enacted stimulus measures over the past year to boost demand, including tax cuts for consumer and industrial goods, pressured banks to lower lending spreads and has cut its benchmark rate more than any other Group of 20 nation. Lower growth has not succeeded in taming inflation.

The president’s coalition is “becoming more fragile and so just might vote according to the interests of their home state instead of the president’s,” Rafael Cortez, a political analyst from Tendencias Consultoria Integrada said.

“If lawmakers go through with this vote, the president is likely to lose,” he said in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo.

Congress last overrode a presidential veto in August 2005 when President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva vetoed a 15 percent wage increase for congressional workers. Congress last sought an override in 2010 while Lula was still president.

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