Recent controversial statements by Economy Minister Paulo Guedes angered President Jair Bolsonaro’s team and Congress center leaders. The assessment is that the statements generate an atmosphere of tension and disrupt the process of reforms.
For palace advisers, the statements affect a portion of Bolsonaro’s electorate and may contribute to increasing the population’s resistance to the economic agenda, since Guedes is the guarantor of the government’s liberal project.
Among the measures to be debated by deputies and senators – and of interest to the government – are the new tax rules and administrative reform.
Changes in the career plan for civil servants have not even been introduced by the government. Bolsonaro said he would release the text next week.
Senate President Davi Alcolumbre (DEM-AP) is working to install the tax reform commission next week as well.
Until then, two public speeches by Guedes have already triggered the warning of advisers to the president.
The minister said on Wednesday (12) that, with the dollar low, domestic workers traveled to Disney.
“A hell of a party,” he said in Brasília. According to him, the slightly higher dollar is good for everyone.
Guedes also called parasite servers last week at an event in Rio de Janeiro. The declaration provoked, in a year of municipal elections, the ire of the civil servants – category with a strong lobby in Congress.
According to Bolsonaro’s interlocutors, the gaffes hinder dialogue with Congress, since they aroused the opposition of parliamentarians. The government already faces problems in articulation.
Deputies and senators say the minister gives ammunition to the opposition and tactics to obstruct voting. This further complicates the approval of reforms.
Among the criticisms he received from leaders of center parties, Guedes was called elitist and of promoting class separation, in contrast to the very message that Planalto sent to Congress at the opening of the legislative year that he wants to combat income inequality.
“This is the time to have statements that help the environment for approving the reforms that Brazil needs”, says the majority leader in the Chamber, Deputy Aguinaldo Ribeiro (PP-PB), rapporteur for tax reform in the House.
Deputies say there is still no way to measure the level of pressure they will receive from the population against the reforms because there are no consolidated proposals. The texts did not begin to process.
“When I negotiate with a minister and the theses I defend are convergent, it is easier than negotiating with a minister whose theses I disagree with. It makes negotiating with the government more difficult,” says Solidariedade leader Zé Silva (MG).
In the face of criticism, Bolsonaro sought to detach himself from the episodes starring the minister.
This Thursday (13th), He said that “the dollar was a little high” and, questioned about Guedes’ phrase about domestic servants, he replied: “Ask whoever said that. I answer for my actions”.
Guedes’ speeches also add to the government’s back and forth about sending the materials.
The tax reform will undergo changes by congressmen and receive suggestions from the government.
Bolsonaro said he will send his suggestions next week – and the slowness in defining government proposals is another complaint from congressmen.
A center party leader explains that, in the case where Guedes called the servers parasites, there was an embarrassment to the Executive that houses servers and to Congress, which will be charged by the government to approve the measure.
Guedes’ statement on functionalism contributed to the postponement of the text of administrative reform. The text would be sent this week.
“It puts more tension on issues that are not pacified. And he is the main articulator of the reforms. It is not positive, ”says MDB leader in the Senate, Eduardo Braga (AM).
“Congress is a big sounding board, which is the voice of the population,” he says.
Tax reform is one of the main banners of Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), president of the Chamber, for this year. Two center party leaders who support him say that the Congress is reformist and, therefore, the turmoil created by Guedes will not be enough to stop the changes.
The approval of the measures in the first semester, however, is viewed with skepticism and a challenge by congressmen due to the complexity of the subjects.
The tax reform of the Chamber, for example, does not appeal to mayors of large cities. The administrative department, in turn, focuses on civil servants in a year of dispute by city halls.
The fear of congressmen is that, by not creating an environment for approval and acting to defend their own agendas, the government will contribute to increase pressure on deputies and senators on the eve of municipal elections.
Meanwhile, Congress is taking the first steps to take tax reform forward at first. With delay, the mixed commission should be installed until next Tuesday (18). There will be 25 senators and 25 deputies.
The creation of the collegiate is also controversial in the House because senators feel neglected by the text of the Chamber, which, they evaluate, will have priority in the discussions.
In addition, the next week precedes Carnival, which, for congressmen, contributes to reducing activities in Congress.