Urgency Petitions and the Informational Problem in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies

Acir Almeida, Fabiano Santos

Abstract


In the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, an absolute majority may bring any bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without the committee’s report by approving an urgency petition. The prevailing interpretation is that urgency petitions have been used by government majorities to get round unsupportive committees. Contrary to this interpretation, we find that only rarely petitions for executive bills are approved without consensus. We identify two reasons why government majorities in Brazil hardly ever impose their agenda on the Legislature: their common agenda is small, and majority members often enjoy informational gains from letting opposition committees examine executive bills.

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