Government wins in Congress… just
The Jair Bolsonaro administration caught a huge break on Wednesday, as Congress continued to vote on provisional decrees set to expire on June 3. Senators approved the foreign ownership of airlines, which could increase competition in the sector. The House also began voting on the decree establishing the current layout of the presidential cabinet—but Speaker Rodrigo Maia ended the sitting after tensions between lawmakers increased.
The vote continues today, with one last (and controversial) article still to be analyzed: the one forbidding tax auditors from reporting crimes to prosecutors. The leadership of Mr. Bolsonaro’s party wanted the matter to be decided by a roll call vote—a way to embarrass members of Congress who want to approve an article clearly aimed at curbing corruption investigations—which led to name-calling in the House. “The atmosphere became tense,” said Mr. Maia.
Despite approving a matter sensitive to the government, the House made sure to put its own imprint on the measure:
- The money laundering enforcement agency (Coaf) was removed from under the purview of Justice Minister Sergio Moro (who intended to use it in anti-corruption probes) and has returned to the Economy Ministry.
- The indigenous affairs agency (Funai) will no longer be subject to the Human Rights Ministry, and will return to the Ministry of Justice. Funai also regains the prerogative to demarcate indigenous lands, which had been given to the Agriculture Ministry.
After the House finishes the voting, the Senate must still approve the decree before June 3.
The House’s Constitution and Justice committee approved a tax reform bill—showing the government how fast Congress can operate when it wants to. And, as the House seems unwilling to give up its leading role on the matter, the government could be forces to get behind the initiative. The bill, however, will now be put on hold, while the pension reform is analyzed by congressmen.