Brazilian govt shelves welfare reform package


Brazil’s government said Tuesday it was shelving a proposed welfare reform bill it had considered key to getting the public deficit under control.
“We had to conclude that in effect we could not begin the debate we had programmed for the 19th (of February), the debate of the social security reforms, and that we could not start the vote,” said Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha at a press conference.
The unpopular social security reform package has been criticized by unions and social groups for raising the retirement age, among others.
As a constitutional amendment proposal, the reform bill needs to be approved in two rounds in both the House and the Senate. The government has been working to convince congressmen for months to support the bill, which needs 308 votes to pass, but is said to have garnered only about 270 votes in favor of the reform.
Padilha said instead of the controversial bill, Brazilian President Michel Temer’s administration will present 15 economic proposals to the nation’s Congress for approval.
The economic proposals include simplifying tax regulations, capping public-sector salaries, and privatizing the state-owned electricity company Eletrobras.