Brazilian Supreme Knocks Down Congress’s 91% Hike, But They Still Want It

The Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) granted unanimously, on Tuesday, December 19, a preliminary injunction voiding the Brazilian congress decision of giving itself a 91% salary hike.

On December 14, the leadership on both houses of congress had passed the raise that would make Brazilian congressmen the best paid in the world.

The Supreme justices ruled on a suit brought up by three House representatives who opposed the wage increase. They are Fernando Gabeira from Rio’s Green Party; Raul Jungmann from Pernambuco’s PPS and Carlos Sampaio from São Paulo’s PSDB.

Told about the Supreme’s ruling, the speaker of the House, Aldo Rebelo from São Paulo’s Communist Party of Brazil, started negotiations with the leaders of all parties to have a floor vote about the raise this Wednesday.

Renan Calheiros, the president of the Senate, from Alagoas’s PMDB said that his intention was to decide about the matter "as soon as possible." He didn’t say, however, if he would defend the 24.500 reais (US$ 11,380) a month that the congress leadership had voted for.

Late last night, Rebelo and Calheiros announced that they were thinking about backing out from their earlier wage boost decision which would give them the same monthly salary the Supreme Court ministers earn now.

If the legislators, however, decide to readjust their wages according to inflation in the last four years (28.4%) then they would get 16,500 reais (US$ 7,700) a month.

Many congressmen believe that there’s no climate now in the country to vote for doubling their salaries as it was done. There have been a few protests in the streets and a lot of criticism in the media against the measure. But probably nothing would have happened if it weren’t for the Supreme intervention.

A vote from the full congress, it was already announced, will require that every candidate declares its vote. If anonymity were allowed the chances of repealing the raise would be much slimmer.

Apparently, however, the so-called "low clergy," as the lesser known representatives are known, continue insisting on almost doubling their pay.

The leadership has been appealing to common sense from their colleagues and recommending that the legislators accept for now a raise that would only cover inflation and at the same time continue fighting to have their salaries raised to the same level of the ministers of the Supreme. 

One of the options would be to get an initial 28.4% increase with gradual wage hikes in the next four years till the salary reaches the 24,500 reais they really want.

Nowadays, besides the salary of 12.847 reais (US$ 5.970), which is paid 15 times a year,  each congressman has a monthly allowance of 15,000 reais (US$ 7,000) for expenses on the home state office,  plus  50,000 reais (US$ 23,000) for the Brasí­lia office, plus 3,000 reais (US$ 1,400) for housing aid, besides 4,000 reais (US$ 1.900) for stamps and telephone and four monthly round-trip air tickets to their home state. When everything is computed it amounts to about 1 million reais (US$ 650,000) a year per congressman.


  • Show Comments (6)

  • acauã ninja

    NÀƒ£o acho uma boa idÀƒ©ia nÀƒ£o a volta dos militares no poder. AliÀƒ¡s, isso seria um pesadelo! Pelo amor dos meus filhinhos… Os trÀƒªs poderes sÀƒ£o importantes porque eles equilibram a divisÀƒ£o de forÀƒ§as. Se o presidente toma uma atitude que nÀƒ£o Àƒ© popular no paÀƒ­s, tanto o Congresso quanto o JudiciÀƒ¡rio tem poder legal para barrar a medida. O mesmo pode-se dizer com relaÀƒ§Àƒ£o aos demais. AliÀƒ¡s, se o aumentÀƒ£o tivesse passado, o presidente poderia, como o judiciÀƒ¡rio o fez, impedir essa lei, baseado em premissas diferentes, inclusive o clamor popular. Agora, o que eu acho muito interessante Àƒ© o projeto de lei de alguns congressistas de eliminar o voto obrigatÀƒ³rio e o projeto de diminuir o nÀƒºmero de parlamentares. Isso daÀƒ­ pode ser uma mais do que Àƒ³tima lei. Fique de olhe, eles irÀƒ£o votar essa proposta no comeÀƒ§o do ano que vem.


  • acauã ninja

    “Many congressmen believe that there’s no climate now in the country to vote for doubling their salaries as it was done. There have been a few protests in the streets and a lot of criticism in the media against the measure. But probably nothing would have happened if it weren’t for the Supreme intervention”

    Ok, here’s the real picture on this issue. Since last Friday, people have been talking over it. Several newspapers, radio stations, channel TVs, interviewing people on the street, specialists, hitting the same key over and over. On Monday the Legislative TV, Parliament TV expressed how many emails congressmen and congresswomen received. Students, union leaders on the streets hostilizing Brasilia politicians, a petition online with more than one hundred thousand people signed…

    Now, how can this writer say that “probably nothing would have happened if it weren’t for the Supreme intervention”?

  • annie Hasemanns

    It is an unfortunate fact, that many Brazilians have resigned already, arguing that nothing will change if they oppose. People are tired of fighting the daily incorrectnesses and hardships and instead try to focus their mind on a little happiness they can create for themselves.
    Otherwise life becomes really unbearable.
    Where are the leaders who can create serious mass movements like you so often have seen in the eastern european countries ? Movements that are so forceful that the politicians have no other choice as to react to
    their voters.
    The recent salary increase is a blow in the face of ordinary hardworking people who struggle and are being squeezed to the limits. There is no justification whatsoever. In any international private corporation one has first to deliver and work like a maniac to be able to receive such income. Successes justify high incomes – nothing else.
    Here it looks like a self service shop with strong tendencies towards a feudalistic system.
    But as said before… the people are so tired to stand up.

  • brasileiro de verdade!!

    sei q a minha opiniÀƒ£o vai chocar muita gente, mas no meu entender a Àƒºnica forma de acabar com a corrupÀƒ§Àƒ£o no brasil Àƒ© a volta dos militares ao poder, com o fechamento do congresso, pensem bem: cada deputado ou senador custa 100.000,00/mes entre salÀƒ¡rio e mordomias(fonte: tv bandeirantes) e sÀƒ£o 513 ao todo, para que? trabalham 2 dias por semana e ainda esses 2 dias nÀƒ£o Àƒ© pelo povo, Àƒ© pelo bolso deles mesmo, entÀƒ£o alÀƒ©m dos 100.000,00/ mes ainda tem o dinheiro pÀƒºblico roubado diariamente por estes safados, e nÀƒ³s (povo) que sustentamos esses vagabundos com caros impostos, na ditadura nÀƒ£o havia liberdade de expressÀƒ£o, tudo bem, mas pelo menos o povo tinha emprego, salÀƒ¡rio justo e nÀƒ£o passava fome.

  • ch.c.

    Nonetheless…….in their actual salaries….
    … when you include the 14 salaries, and all the actual perks, they already have higher salaries than their peers in UK, France, Spain, just to name a few.

    Those interested should only look in the Jan/Feb 2006 news in this same site.
    Several articles were already well documented.

  • alltheway

    My friends, if you can’t stop this obvious, out in the open robbery, you really can’t stop anything. They are teling the people they only care about themselves, if no one objects then they will believe that is what you want them to do and it won’t stop there, but you already know that, all the thieves are not out on the street. The courts took the first step, the next step has to come from the people, the politicians work for you. Take this first step, then another, then another and you and your families will win, just one step at a time to live better and more fairly. Is it their country or is it yours ? Up to you.

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