Brazil's Rousseff Ups Social Spending as Next Impeachment Ruling Looms

Image: President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff speaks at a press conference
President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff speaks at a press conference April 18 in Brasilia, Brazil.Igo Estrela / Getty Images

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/ Source: Reuters
By Reuters

Embattled Brazil Pres. Dilma Rousseff vowed to raise spending on Sunday for her party's signature anti-poverty program in an appeal to her political base.

Left-leaning Rousseff, speaking at a Labor Day rally in the industrial heartland of São Paulo, warned that her opponents would slash social expenditure if she is removed from office. She said her ouster by the Senate next month would open room for a dismantling of labor rules that protect millions of workers in Latin America's largest economy.

A Senate committee is discussing whether to accept a request by the lower house to put Rousseff on trial for allegedly breaking budgetary rules.

If a majority of the 81-seat Senate votes to do so, as expected, Rousseff could be suspended from office as soon as May 11 and her vice president will take over.

RELATED: Brazil Congressional Committee Recommends Impeaching Dilma Rousseff

"They are saying this government is finished. They are trying to paralyze us, but the government is doing its part," Rousseff said. She repeated her allegations that there was no legal basis for her dismissal.

"This is not only a coup against a democratically elected government, but also a coup against the hard-won rights of the workers of this country."

Brazil's Supreme Court has rejected government injunctions against the impeachment process.

Senior figures in Vice President Michel Temer's PMDB party have said that if he takes office next month his government would maintain Bolsa Familia and other welfare programs.

Newspapers have reported that Temer would be willing to revise some aspects of the legislation to resuscitate an economy braced for a second straight year of contraction.

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