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Supreme Federal Court

May 25th, 2019

The global budget of the Senate for this year is of R$ 2,7 billion. To have an idea of what this value means, the budget of the Senate is the same of the City of Campinas (SP). In other words, the value destined to the activities of 81 senators of the Republic is equal to the foreseen one for the set of the governmental actions of a city with more than 1 million of inhabitants. Another comparison: the budget of the Senate is bigger of what the total expense in health and sanitation of the State of the Rio Grande Do Sul that, in 2008, was of R$ 2,6 billion. Ahead of these numbers, it fits to ask: which the effective contribution of the Senate to the Brazilian society? In the institucional plan, the main paper of the Senate is the parliamentary representation of the interests of the federate beings; whereas the Chamber of Members of the house of representatives is composed in representatives of the people, respected the popular sovereignty and the igualitrio vote. As the mandate of the Senators is of 8 years, each election renews only one tero or two teros of its members. Not the renewal is possible, in an only election, of all the senators.

This constitutional device, that has the objective to give more institucional stability, contributes so that the Senate has a profile more conservative who the House of representatives With regard to the legislative process, our bicameral system establishes that the substances, as general rule, must separately be voted in the two legislative houses. This means, for example, that a substance with origin in the House of representatives will have, later, to be argued and to be voted in the Senate. If it will have emendations, return for appreciation in the Chamber. The same procedure, in sequence inverse, occurs when the substance is deriving of the Senate. One of the consequncias of the system is the morosidade of the legislative process, that finishes being one them reasons that take the Executive to abuse the use of Provisional remedies and the Supreme Federal Court to legislate in the legislative vacuum. The Senate still has a peculiar characteristic: when a chair is vacant, the substitute is the elect substitute with the senator. In the current composition of the Senate, it has 17 substitutes. That is, about 20 percent of the members of this institution had not been elect for the popular vote. These aspects already would be enough to justify the debate concerning the legitimacy of the bicameral system. However, if to join they them recent scandals produced in the Federal Senate (private decrees, employee ghosts, undue payment of aid-housing, payment of overtime without installment of the service, nepotism, improper use of tickets), becomes urgent to rethink the existence of this house legislativa.* Article published in the periodical Zero Hour of 02/08/2009

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