The decision of the Supreme Federal Court (STF) on Thursday (26) to declare the constitutionality of the law which granted autonomy to the Central Bank is a demonstration of the will of most ministers not to jeopardize the liberal economic agenda of the government, despite recent clashes with President Jair Bolsonaro.
The President of the Court, Luiz Fux, had already sent signs of goodwill. Even after breaking off the dialogue with the president, due to insults to ministers Luís Roberto Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes, he had conversations with ministers of the economic space, such as Paulo Guedes (Economy), Tarcísio Freitas ( Infrastructure) and Bento Albuquerque (Minas and energy).
He told his interlocutors that there was not the slightest risk of economic reprisals to counter Bolsonaro’s attitudes, despite certain actions that could have an impact on public funds are on the agenda (read below). below). Responses to the president should, however, be limited to actions focused exclusively on him, as part of the investigations carried out by Moraes.
This Wednesday (25), Fux made it clear that he would reserve as many days as necessary to quickly judge not only the autonomy of the BC, but also another action that concerns the government, which discusses the validity or not. of the “deadline” for the delimitation of indigenous lands. This involves defining whether the Indians are guaranteed possession only of the territories which they already occupied on October 5, 1988, the date of the promulgation of the Constitution.
“The STF has two very important processes for our country, that’s why we are going to judge them until judgment of both is exhausted, then we can set a new agenda. These processes are a priority for today.” hui, tomorrow and the following days, ”said Fux.
On Thursday, the forecast of a favorable outcome for the government in the case of the Central Bank was confirmed, including votes from Barroso and Moraes. The former defended the need for the measure to protect monetary policy from political interference and ensure fiscal accountability. Moraes said it was a legitimate political choice.
“Budgetary responsibility has no ideology. It is neither on the right nor on the left. It is neither monetarist nor structuralist. It’s just the healthy savings assumption. , even in recent history, brings unemployment, inflation, divestment and high interest rates, ”Barroso said.
“Tomorrow, if this option proves to be wrong, it is possible for the president to send a new draft and Congress can approve it. It is not a difficult clause to appoint and remove the president and the directors of the Central Bank, ”Moraes said.
They were joined by Dias Toffoli, Nunes Marques, Edson Fachin, Carmen Lúcia, Gilmar Mendes and Luiz Fux. They voted against – but only because of a technical flaw in the treatment of the bill in Congress – Ricardo Lewandowski and Rosa Weber.
The judgment of the deadline, another priority, was taken up later, but only for the reading of the report. Next week, ministerial votes begin, but a request for an opinion is expected, pushing back a decision and relieving rural people, who fear defeat. In June, at the start of the virtual session trial, Fachin voted against the thesis, arguing that many tribes had been expelled from their territories and could not prove that they were there when the constitution was enacted.
Within the court, the observation of certain ministers is that the political situation of the country is troubled and does not recommend a decision for the moment, for one side or the other. The decision will have general repercussions and could affect more than 300 lands in the process of demarcation.
Last Tuesday (24), around 6,000 natives protested against the calendar at the Esplanada dos Ministérios – they are camping at the site. In recent months, more than a hundred representative entities of the agro-industry have come forward within the STF in favor, through opinions addressed to ministers.
On the 20th, in an interview with Canal Rural, Bolsonaro said that the end of the deadline “would be chaos for Brazil and also a great loss for the world”. “These lands which are currently productive may cease to be so. And other reserves, due to their geographical combination, could make other productive areas unfeasible,” he said.
Other government priorities in the STF
The government fears other actions that could soon be judged by the plenary and involving greater economic openness. At the beginning of September, the STF could judge an action against a law of 2014 which exempted from tendering the provision of interstate or international land transport services of passengers. The government supports the waiver of auctions, arguing that “improving the quality of service is easier to achieve in an environment of free and open competition”, according to the opinion of the Office of the Attorney General (AGU).
Another program of interest to the government is the maintenance of the legal framework for sanitation. Two lawsuits by opposition parties seeking to overturn last year’s law that opened up the provision of public services to private companies are scheduled for November. PT, PSB, PCdoB, PDT and Psol say water supply and wastewater treatment will increase.
Just last year, Fux denied having suspended the law altogether. He pointed to a “shameful scenario” for the Brazilian population’s access to these services. “Maintaining the status quo perpetuates the violation of the dignity of thousands of Brazilians and the enjoyment of several fundamental rights,” he said, betting on the expansion of the network through private initiative.
Another disturbingly awaited judgment concerns Ferrogrão, a 933-kilometer rail line under construction that will link Sinop commune in Mato Grosso to Itaituba in Pará, with agricultural production in the Midwest directly to ports in the north of the country. , without having to go through the South East and South terminals.
In March, however, Minister Alexandre de Moraes suspended environmental licenses at the behest of Psol, who said the line would invade protected forests and native areas. Since then, the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcísio Vieira, has held talks with the ministers of the Supreme Court to release the works, budgeted at 12 billion reais. However, there is still no date for the plenary judgment.
Impact judgments of billionaires on the agenda
In addition to these cases, there are more than a dozen actions in the STF scheduled for the second half of the government’s direct interest, some with a billion dollar impact. In the Budget Guidelines Act, the Federal Attorney General’s Office listed five processes that could impact public coffers of at least R $ 138.2 billion.
The government is worried about resuming the judgment of two actions challenging the social security factor, a mechanism created in 1999 to extend the duration of INSS contribution for workers who wish to increase the amount of their pension. If the law is overturned, the cost to the Union would amount to R $ 54.6 billion. The actions began to be judged on August 19, with the vote of the rapporteur, Kassio Nunes Marques, in favor of constitutionality. Alexandre de Moraes, however, requested a review and postponed the decision indefinitely.
Another salt bill, of at least 49.9 billion reais, could arrive in December, when the STF plenary adjudicates an action by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) that questions reductions in reimbursement of workers. taxes to which exporting companies are entitled under the program. To re-establish. By law, the government can return up to 3% of export earnings, but it arbitrarily reduced the rate, according to CNI. The action report is Minister Gilmar Mendes.
The minister also reports on another action, scheduled for judgment in October, which interests rural people: the end of the social contribution of rural producers based on gross income which is added to that levied on the wage bill of their employees. If the Union loses, the impact would be R $ 20.8 billion, according to AGU calculations.
There are also two other tax issues with a billion dollar impact on the agenda. In one of them, which will be judged in September, the companies question the increases in the contribution rates to work accident insurance. If they win, the Union loses 9.1 billion reais. The rapporteur is Dias Toffoli. Another action, whose judgment is scheduled for November, aims to cancel the fine that the tax authorities apply to tax compensations not approved, that is to say rejected by the tax administration to be considered undue. Gilmar Mendes is the rapporteur.