Congress leadership races heat up, pit Bolsonaro against the House Speaker

In February, Congress elects a new House Speaker and Senate President. Negotiations are intensifying by the day

congress speaker
House Speaker Rodrigo Maia addresses the floor: “The president is lying.” Photo: Maryanna Oliveira/Brazilian House

With the members of Brazil’s Congress packing their bags, ready to leave Brasília for their end-of-year holidays, there has been enough time for one last political uproar between lawmakers and the federal government. The subject up for debate is the extension of the coronavirus emergency aid program and the Christmas bonus payment of Brazil’s Bolsa Família cash transfer initiative.

The “13th payment” of the Bolsa Família program was among President Jair Bolsonaro’s leading campaign promises, intending to gain some ownership over the renowned welfare initiative customarily credited to the center-left Workers’ Party governments. The payment was made last...

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