March 29, 2019


1. Chamber of Deputies wants to limit Bolsonaro’s control over the federal budget

In an unexpected vote, the Chamber of Deputies approved a proposal for a constitutional amendment limiting the government’s control over the federal budget. The proposal will be analyzed by the Senate next week. Already approved by the vast majority of deputies, the proposal represents a defeat for the administration. It establishes the mandatory payment of debts which can currently be postponed. The vote was a demonstration of the strength of Congress as the proposal had been waiting for a vote since 2015. The restrictions go against one of Economy Minister Paulo Guedes’ key arguments, wanting to reduce the government’s mandatory spending. If the proposal is approved, the executive will be limited to spending only R$ 45 billion (USD $11.54 billion) of its R$ 1.4 trillion (USD $358.97 billion) annual budget.

Folha de S.Paulo: Em retaliação ao governo, Câmara limita Orçamento federal
O Estado de S. Paulo: Senadores devem aprovar Orçamento impositivo

2. Following feud, Maia and Bolsonaro truce eases the market

Two weeks after public feuding between President Jair Bolsonaro and Chamber of Deputies President Rodrigo Maia, the administration sent Economy Minister Paulo Guedes to negotiate the approval of the retirement reform in Congress. Guedes is now responsible for listening to demands by members of Congress for the proposed amendment, and to try to get enough votes for the bill – which will change retirement rules in the country. The financial market, heavily influenced by the public dispute between Bolsonaro and Maia, ended Wednesday with a 3.57% drop and the U.S. dollar rising to R$ 4. However, it reacted well to the truce and ended yesterday with a 2.7% increase and a small drop in the price of the U.S. dollar, at R$ 3.91.  

O Estado de S. Paulo: Maia e Guedes vão liderar articulações da reforma
Valor Econômico: Sinal de conciliação política dá força à bolsa
O Estado de S. Paulo: Divergências são “página virada”, diz Bolsonaro

3. Business owners demand end of dispute between government sectors

Business owners, executives and bankers unanimously agree that the President must leave controversies and feuds behind him and focus on what really matters – retirement reform. According to assessments by Valor Econômico, the business world’s perception of the administration ranges from wariness to outright disappointment in what has been witnessed over the first quarter of Bolsonaro’s government. The president of a retail bank says he is disappointed and now worried about the Retirement Reform, stating “being this rigid doesn’t work.” The president of another financial institution says the administration is “drowning itself in a glass of water” and that this can be seen in the price of financial assets currently being negotiated.

Valor Econômico: Empresários pedem foco político na reforma da Previdência
Valor Econômico: Precisamos sair da questão política menor, diz empresário

4. After controversies, militaryman is the new “number 2” at Ministry of Education

Lieutenant General Ricardo Machado Vieira, former Brazilian Air Force commander, was appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro to be the second-in-command at the Ministry of Education. He is the new executive secretary of the ministry, a position which has been vacant since March 13th. Vieira is the fourth person appointed by the administration to take over the second most important function at the ministry – two people were fired, and one rejected his appointment. Since the beginning of the year, 15 people have been fired by Minister Ricardo Vélez Rodríguez as a result of feuds and political decisions. Facing rumors that he will soon be fired, Vélez received the support of President Jair Bolsonaro, who says the Minister “is new at this” and “not politically savvy.”

Folha de S.Paulo: Militar assume segundo maior cargo na Educação
O Estado de S. Paulo: Tenente-brigadeiro vira o ‘número 2’ do MEC

5. President backs down and asks for ‘remembrance’ of military coup

President Jair Bolsonaro – who will be on a trip to Israel this Sunday (31st), said on Thursday that he asked for the military to “remember” and not “celebrate” the 55th anniversary of the military coup d’état, which took place on March 31st,1964. The change in tone comes as a result of lawsuits thatprohibit or punish celebrations of the coup in military headquarters. The coup d’état placed Brazil under a military dictatorship until 1985. Once again, Bolsonaro compared the dictatorship to a marriage, saying that when couples have problems and decide to forgive each other, they shouldn’t “bring back matters from the past, when there was a misunderstanding.” According to a report by the National Truth Commission, concluded in 2014, there were 434 deaths and disappearances during the dictatorship at the hands ofmilitary agents and policemen working for the regime. In defense of their celebrations, military personnel justify the military intervention as a necessaryaction for national stability at the time.

Valor Econômico: Bolsonaro muda tom e pede para rememorar o golpe
Folha de S.Paulo: Agora, Bolsonaro pede para rememorar o golpe de 1964