UPDATE 2-Brazil's Rousseff bars fiscal 'backpedaling' ahead of court ruling
(Adds TCU judge vote to reject accounts)
By Alonso Soto
BRASILIA Oct 2 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday barred government delays in repaying state-run banks, in an attempt to strengthen her defense ahead of a court ruling on such postponements that could serve as grounds for her impeachment.
Rousseff published a decree to ban delays as she faces potential impeachment on accusations she broke the nation's fiscal responsibility law by holding off repayments to lenders that had advanced the government money for social programs in a practice known as fiscal "backpedaling."
The delays helped her government continue funding social programs while improving the nation's fiscal accounts ahead of the 2014 presidential election, in which she was narrowly re-elected.
Brazil's Federal Accounts Court, or TCU, is scheduled to reject or approve Rousseff's handling of 2014 public accounts on Wednesday.
The presidential decree bans government delays surpassing five days on loan payments from financial institutions.
"The decree aims to strengthen the government's arguments that there was no regulation at the time that banned that practice," said Mansueto Almeida, a public accounts expert who has been critical of Rousseff's fiscal policies.
"If that influences the TCU's decision it's hard to say, but it's definitely a step in the right direction." Continuación...