The crisis between House Speaker Arthur Lira (PP-AL) and Senate Speaker Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG) has intensified in recent days due to resistance from both to move forward with the proposals presented. by the other legislative chamber. As a result, members of Congress say the scenario for advancing government reforms is becoming increasingly unlikely. In addition, the proposals regarding indebted businesses and social assistance to the poor may be affected by the “struggle” between Pacheco and Lira.
Elected at the head of the Chamber and the Senate with the support of the Palácio do Planalto at the beginning of the year, Lira and Pacheco no longer have the same harmony they showed in press conferences and political meetings. For allies of the President of the Senate, Lira has tried to pass a “tractor” in areas such as electoral reform, changes in income tax (IR) and more recently with the PEC de precatório.
Allies of the President of the House accuse Pacheco of blocking files of interest to the government because of his electoral intentions in 2022. Recently, the senator left the DEM for the PSD and aims to embark on the presidential race as the ‘one of the names of the so-called third way. Pacheco denies it and says things are not moving forward because there is no consensus among senators.
Income tax reform was Lira’s priority
According to Arthur Lira’s allies, the Speaker of the House intended to deliver some reforms this year, including the income tax, which is a slice of the tax reform. The text passed through the hemicycle in September and has since been awaiting a vote by the senators (Pacheco must direct the vote).
“The Senate must proceed, we had a procedural agreement. The Senate did not vote on income tax, ”Lira said at an event organized by the Brazilian Association of Wholesalers and Distributors (Abad). According to the Speaker of the House, with the approval of the changes in income tax and the collection of dividends, there would be a source of funding for Auxílio Brasil, replacing Bolsa Família, to become permanent. As the text has not yet been approved by the Senate, Lira said he hopes that the senators quickly approve the PEC of the precatório to open a fiscal space for the payment of aid to Brazil.
“We have more than 20 million families who suffer from hunger, hence the importance of the PEC of precatório and temporary aid. the dividend [do projeto do Imposto de Renda] it would serve as a source to create a program within the permanent ceiling of R $ 300. Without this source, it is not possible, “he explained.
Pressed to guide IR reform, Pacheco refuted Lira’s accusations and recently said his commitment is to senators and to the Constitution. “We keep all of our commitments. I have an agreement signed with the senators of the Federal Senate, which is to respect the Constitution, to follow the procedures of bills in a democratic manner. I faithfully respect the income tax project that I have committed to senators, which is to submit to them, through the Committee on Economic Affairs, a reflection that can have the participation of all ”, declared the chairman of the Senate.
In the House, the proposal is reported by Senator Ângelo Coronel (PSD-BA), who has declared to his allies that he will not be “hazed” by the pressures of the House and that his report will only be submitted to ” right moment “. ”. Recently, the colonel declared that the text approved in the hemicycle is “horrible” and “badly written”, and that there is no chance of being voted this year.
The point of view of the senators is that the text will not be finalized until 2022, and, if guided, it should face difficulties of approval due to the electoral climate. Pacheco defended the idea of a slower process, but which foresees “a comprehensive reform”.
“The legislative process must be matured, it must be matured; you have to listen to society. It is therefore a normal course, I think that it is the main agreement that must be respected, it is the agreement with Brazilian society, “said the President of the Senate.
Without the prospect of approving the IR reform this year, Planalto has started betting all its tokens on the approval of the PEC de precatório, which allows the government to not pay all debts already recognized by the courts.
Lira, who remains loyal to President Jair Bolsonaro, has done her part. He guided the PEC – which was approved by MPs in two ballots. Now the proposal is in the Senate, where it faces more resistance. PEC Senate rapporteur Fernando Bezerra Coelho (MDB-PE), who is the government House leader, has agreed to change the House text in an attempt to convince more senators to vote in favor of the proposal. One of the changes was to make Brazilian Aid permanent – the House-approved CEP only provided for payment in 2022, which was one of the criticisms of the proposal.
Written by Pacheco, the new Refis must be amended by the Chamber
With the wear and tear between Lira and Pacheco, other issues have also become grounds for clashes between the presidents of the two chambers of the legislature. Written by Pacheco, the project that creates the new Refis, a program that sets deadlines and conditions for the payment of companies’ debts to the Union, has been stopped in the Chamber since August.
Lira expected to increase the pressure on the Senate speaker by dropping the proposal. The President of the House however admits already having guided the text even without the approval of the reform of the income tax by the senators.
Privately, House leaders admit that a regimental maneuver to ensure MPs have the final say on the bill is under discussion in the College of Leaders. One of the proposals is to guide the project by MP Ricardo Guidi (PSD-SC), which has the same content as the Pacheco project. With that, who will have the last word on the rules will be the deputies, who will analyze the possible modifications that the senators will bring to this new text. If Pacheco’s bill was passed, senators would decide on the House’s amendments and could reject them.
The text studied by MEPs grants all companies the same number of down payments to repay debts to the Union, down payment and discount on fines, regardless of the drop in income during the pandemic. The Senate version establishes a gradation: companies with more loss of income would have access to discounts and a greater number of installments to repay their debts to the Union.
For companies that have not suffered losses, the amount paid in the down payment will be 25% of the debt, and the installment will be for a maximum period of five months, with the possibility of paying up to 25%. % of amount through tax credits. . In the Senate, this text was even articulated with the Minister of the Economy, Paulo Guedes, who even called the proposal a “fiscal passport”. Any change in the proposal is already meeting resistance from the Planalto Palace.
“Refis everyone wants. So what everyone wants, usually the government doesn’t want it, and we always have to be there to interface. Well the Senate did not vote on income tax and the rapporteur said he would not vote. We will vote on Refis. Maybe not the text that the Senate approved, maybe not the same text, but we will approve Refis, ”said Arthur Lira.
The rapporteur’s amendments open a new chapter in the fight between Pacheco and Lira
In addition to the current reasons for the “fight” between Lira and Pacheco, deputies and senators behind the scenes believe that changes in the so-called rapporteur’s amendments, suspended by the plenary of the Supreme Court (STF), should increase the weariness between the two. Houses. In the opinion of the parliamentarians, while Lira defended the distribution of the amendments, Pacheco did not devote himself to seeking an alternative to the suspension of the payment of the amendments determined by the STF due to a lack of transparency.
In the hemicycle, the deputies defend that there is no change in the distribution of the rapporteur’s amendments. Senators, on the other hand, want to end this type of amendment or limit it to a percentage of federal government revenue, which could set this type of mechanism at a maximum of R $ 3.5 billion next year. For 2021, the rapporteur’s amendments total 16.8 billion reais, including 11 billion reais for deputies and 5.8 billion reais in the Senate.
“The idea is precisely to reduce the power of Arthur Lira, who has this budget of a billion dollars to buy support in the House,” admits a Senate leader. In the Chamber, Lira controls the rapporteur’s amendments, while in the Senate, control is carried out by the Planalto Palace.
MPs and Senators are looking to break the deadlock as a way to comply with the STF ruling, which has blocked the release of payments for amendments until Congress sets transparent rules for the distribution of those resources.
“To demonize the rapporteur’s amendments is to roll back. We are going to lose resources for education, for building schools. We are going to have this loss, lose 13 billion reais there, or turn this budget into RP2, which are exclusive amendments to the executive. Then I want to see how you’re going to control it, ”Lira said in an interview with GloboNews.