President Dilma Rousseff moves one step closer to impeachment trial

BRASILIA, Brazil, Aug. 5 (UPI) — A special committee in Brazil’s Federal Senate voted to continue with an impeachment trial against suspended President Dilma Rousseff.

The special impeachment committee voted 14-to-5 on Thursday to approve a report that recommends impeachment proceedings against Rousseff over evidence she “failed to comply with tax and budget laws on the issue of additional credit decrees,” Brazil’s Senado Federal, or Federal Senate, said in a statement.

In the second-to-last step in impeachment proceedings, the Senate will meet on Tuesday to hold a vote in which a majority of senators, at least 41, are needed for an impeachment trial to begin. Rousseff will resume the presidency if a simple majority is not reached. Rousseff is accused of covering up federal budget deficits with funds from state-owned banks during an election year.

“We live here, in this committee, a historic moment of unparalleled importance that tests our commitment to the highest values that should guide policy and practice, and therefore, puts a huge responsibility on us,” Raimundo Lira, the committee president, said Thursday.

Santa Catarina state Sen. Dario Berger voted in favor of impeaching Rousseff, saying her alleged actions helped create an economic crisis in Brazil.

“The fiscal irresponsibility led Brazil to the most significant crisis of all time with over 11 million unemployed,” Berger said Thursday. “President Dilma lost credibility, the support of Congress and society, therefore, the minimum governance conditions.”

The senators who voted against impeachment proceedings said the committee failed to provide evidence Rousseff committed a crime, likening the proceedings to a coup d’etat. A final impeachment vote could be held as early as September in which a two-thirds majority — 54 senators — are needed to permanently remove Rousseff from the presidency.

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