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Functions

The Federal Legislative Branch is exercised by the National Congress, which is composed of two legislative houses: The Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate. One can state, therefore, that Federal Legislative Branch is bicameral.

The typical functions of the Legislative Branch is to legislate and supervise.

The legislate function

The preparatory meetings are aimed at the senators’ inauguration and the Senate Board’s election in the first year of the legislature and at a new election of the Board only in the third year.

The typical function of legislating refers to the edition of primary normative instruments, which are those whose foundation arises directly from the Federal Constitution, and that can establish rights or create obligations. The organized set of acts through which the normative proposition passes, until it becomes a norm, is called the legislative process. The legislative process includes the elaboration of:

Constitutional Amendments

Supplementary laws Ordinary laws

Delegated Laws

Provisional measures

Legislative decrees

Resolutions

The supervising function

Due to a republican principle, citizens - whether directly or through their elected representatives - can supervise the administration, verifying the proper application of public funds and respect for norms.

According to art. 49, item X, of the Brazilian Federal Constitution, the Federal Senate,

as a component of the National Congress, has the competence to supervise and control the acts of the Executive Branch.

By means of external control, the National Congress must carry out the accounting, financial, budgetary, operational and patrimonial oversight of the Union and the governmental entities. The National Congress also relies on the support of the Audit Office to fulfill that function.

The Federal Constitution and the Internal Regulations of the Federal Senate provide many ways for senators to act in the oversight. See below some possibilities and examples obtained in the search made in the Legislative Activity portal:

- Request of information to a Minister of State or any chief officer of an agency directly subordinate to the Presidency of the Republic. (Examples)

- Analyse accounts of the Presidency of the Republic.

- To supervise and control acts of the Executive Branch.

- Evaluate public policies.

- Set up Congressional Investigating Committees.

 

Private competences of the Federal Senate

The private competences of the Federal Senate are set forth in article

52 of the Federal Constitution. Which are:

- To effect the legal proceeding and trial of the President and Vice-President of the Republic for crime of malversation, and the Ministers of State and the Commanders of the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force for crimes of the same nature relating to those;

- to effect the legal proceeding and trial of the Justices of the Supreme Federal Court,

the members of the National Council of Justice and of the National Council of the Public Prosecution, the Attorney-General of the Republic, and the Advocate-General of the Union for crimes of malversation;

- to give prior consent, by secret voting, after public hearing, on the selection of:

a) judges, in the cases established in this Constitution;

b) Justices of the Federal Audit Court appointed by the President

of the Republic;

c) Governor of a territory;

d) president and directors of the Central Bank;

e) Attorney-General of the Republic;

f) holders of other offices, as the law may determine;

g) heads of permanent diplomatic missions (ambassadors);

- to authorize foreign transactions of a financial nature, of the interest of the Union, the states, the Federal District, the territories and the municipalities;

- to establish, as proposed by the President of the Republic, total limits for the entire amount of the consolidated debt of the Union, the states, the Federal District and the municipalities;

- to provide for the total limits and conditions for foreign and domestic credit transactions of the Union, the states, the Federal District and the municipalities, of their autonomous Government entities and other entities controlled by the Federal Government;

- to provide for limits and conditions for the concession of a guarantee by the Union in foreign and domestic credit transactions;

- to establish total limits and conditions for the entire amount of the debt of the states, the Federal District and the municipalities;

- to stop the application, in full or in part, of a law declared

unconstitutional by final decision of the Supreme Federal Court;

- to approve, by absolute majority and by secret voting, the removal from office of the Attorney-General of the Republic before the end of his term of office;

- to draw up its internal regulations;

- to provide for its organization, functioning, police, creation, change or abolishment of offices, positions and functions of its services, and the introduction of a law for the establishment of their respective remuneration, taking into account the guidelines set forth in the law of budgetary directives;

- to elect members of the Council of the Republic; and

- to carry out a regular assessment of the functionality of the National Tax System, as regards its structure and components, as well as the performance of the tax administrations of the Union, of the States, the Federal District, and the Municipalities.