(Reuters) – Brazil’s lower house approved on Wednesday a measure that makes permanent the 400 reais ($80.58) Auxilio Brasil monthly welfare program for families in poverty situations, months ahead of the country’s October presidential election.
The proposal, which still needs to be cleared by the Senate, must be completely approved by May 16 or it will become invalid.
Originally, the measure allowed only the granting of an extraordinary benefit to complement Auxilio Brasil from December 2021 to December 2022.
The lawmaker who leads the bill, a former minister in Jair Bolsonaro’s government Joao Roma, accepted a change in the document to authorize the permanent payment of the welfare program.
The bill was supported even from members of the opposition, who celebrated its approval, but stressed the feeling that the government had only backed the measure because of October’s election, when far-right president Bolsonaro will seek re-election.
“Brazil aid or electoral aid? It is absolutely clear that the interest is electoral,” said opposition lawmaker Maria do Rosario, from leftist Workers Party.
Earlier, Senate’s president Rodrigo Pacheco said that is likely that the measure will be approved.
($1 = 4.9642 reais)
(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello, Writing by Carolina Pulice; editing by Bernard Orr)