Venezuela's parliament gave President Hugo Chavez decree powers for 18 months on Friday.
The socialist leader says the special fast-track powers are essential for him to deal with an emergency caused by floods that have killed about 40 people and driven nearly 140,000 more from their homes.
Chavez had asked for decree powers for one year, but the Assembly decided to increase that to 18 months.
Earlier on Friday, parliament passed a law making it easier for his government to nationalize banks and trim their profits.
The "Enabling Law," which means the president can issue decrees across a wide range of areas including housing, land, finances and security, has been denounced as autocratic by his political rivals as well as by the U.S. State Department.
The new banking law passed earlier on Friday creates stringent operating rules that include forcing banks to give 5 percent of their profits every six months to community groups.
It also allows Chavez to order the takeover of institutions that he deems problematic, a move previously made by the banking watchdog. Chavez has increased the state's role in the sector this year, but a total takeover of banking is unlikely.