Brazil's Senate approves aid package, lower house yet to vote

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on after a ceremony about the National Policy for Education at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil June 20, 2022. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's Senate on Thursday approved a major pre-election aid package, sending the government-backed measure to the lower house.

The measures are seen as a crucial pillar of President Jair Bolsonaro's re-election campaign, and use the energy price spike resulting from the Ukraine war as legal justification for overriding a constitutional spending cap.

The package includes a 1,000 reais ($192.38) aid for self-employed truckers, a key Bolsonaro constituency. It also increases by 50% the amount paid in the Auxilio Brasil social welfare program, and increases a gas voucher.

At the last minute, government-backed senators managed to include in the proposal two more measures, an aid targeting taxi drivers and to grant more funding to an existing food security program.

The two latest benefits will together cost an additional 2.5 billion reais, senators said, bringing the cost of the whole proposal to around 40 billion reais ($7.61 billion).

($1 = 5.2340 reais)

(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Chris Reese)

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