Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Brazil to release funds to quell Congress unrest

BRASILIA, March 19 (Reuters) - President Dilma Rousseff will try to quell a rebellion among Brazilian legislators by releasing some frozen funds for their pet projects, sources told Reuters, hoping that will convince them to pass critical legislation for the 2014 World Cup and other bills related to the economy.

Rousseff has struggled since taking office last year with unrest among the 17 parties that make up her coalition in Congress. The latest conflict followed Rousseff's decision to freeze about $30 billion in funds in this year's budget, a move which she hoped would contain inflation while allowing Brazil's high interest rates to keep falling in coming months.

Rousseff focused most of the cuts on Congress' so-called "discretionary" funds, which legislators use for projects back home. Legislators have retaliated by holding up most of Rousseff's agenda and threatening to pass bills that could sabotage Brazil's already-fragile economy.

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