The Brazilian government’s plan to reform the pension system to help rein in public debt should easily clear a congressional committee on Wednesday but lawmakers said a tight vote in the full lower house was unlikely before late this month.
Arthur Maia, who is in charge of drafting the bill, said he expected the reform to garner around 23 votes in the 37-member lower house committee, confirming information provided to Reuters on Tuesday from sources in the presidential palace.
However, Maia said that many of the chamber’s 513 lawmakers need more information to support the unpopular changes. A floor vote was previously expected to be held next week. “There is no way to vote it (on the floor) this week or next,” Maia told Brazilian news radio network CBN.
The head of the special committee, Carlos Marun, also told reporters on Wednesday that the pension reform would be taken up by the full house in the second half of this month. [L8N1I569H] President Michel Temer’s center-right government, which has made efforts to cut the massive pension deficit its top legislative priority, is still scrambling to get the 308 votes needed to approve the constitutional reform in the lower house.
Investors see pension reform as the only way for Brazil to shore up its long-term finances without resorting to huge tax hikes. The Brazilian real would probably drop more than 10 percent if the scandal-plagued Congress fails to pass the bill, currency strategists estimated in a Reuters poll on Wednesday.