In blow to Rousseff, Brazil lawmakers approve new wage hikes

jueves 6 de agosto de 2015 08:00 GYT

BRASILIA Aug 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's lower house of Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill late on Wednesday to raise the wages of some public employees and police officers in a major blow to President Dilma Rousseff, who is losing control of her legislative alliance.

The vote complicates Rousseff's efforts to rebalance public accounts and avoid losing Brazil's coveted investment-grade rating next year.

In a 445-16 vote, the lower house passed the bill, which could cost state coffers an extra 2.5 billion reais ($714 million) per year.

In the first week since their return from their midyear recess, lawmakers of the government's alliance, including from Rousseff's own Workers' Party, broke ranks and supported legislation that raises public expenditures.

The bill, which alters the constitution, still has to go through another vote in the lower house and another two rounds of voting in the Senate.

Earlier this year lawmakers passed legislation to raise the wages of judiciary workers and are delaying a vote on austerity measures to raise corporate taxes.

($1 = 3.4982 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)