The Brazilian Senate, in the early hours of Wednesday, gave its first-round approval to a constitutional amendment, setting a cap on annual increases in government spending. The Senate voted 61-14 in favor of the measure, which must now be voted on a second time by the body. The proposal has already been passed by the Chamber of Deputies. A second, and definitive, Senate vote is likely Tuesday, Dec. 13. The amendment would cap annual increases in expenditure at no more than previous-year inflation and would remain in force for 20 years. The mechanism for setting the cap can be reviewed after 10 years. The amendment was put forward by President Michel Temer, who has called it a critical element in his drive to balance government accounts and fight down inflation. The amendment was passed amid large, and often unruly, protest rallies outside the congressional chamber in Brasília.
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