By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Trying to shift the focus back to government accomplishments, instead of the Supreme Court investigation of a staggering number of politicians, Brazilian President Michel Temer called a meeting on Easter Sunday of his top advisors and Congressional allies to discuss the social security reform in Congress.
Among those attending the meeting were Finance Minister, Henrique Meirelles, Commission Chairman, Carlos Marun, General Secretariat to the Government, Wellington Moreira Franco, Senator Romero Jucá, Chamber President Rodrigo Maia and the bill’s rapourter, Artur de Oliveira Maia, the latter four named by Odebrecht executives as being implicated in the Lava Jato scandal.
For Representative Marun, however, the latest accusations against politicians in the Lava Jato corruption scheme will not deter the Administration from pushing through the social security reform.
“I do not have the slightest concern about this list interfering in the vote, I will not minimize the issue, which, on the contrary, demands an even greater effort that we fulfill our duty, which is to vote,” Marun told reporters after the meeting according to a government news agency.
According to a former Odebrecht executive more than R$10.6 billion was paid in bribes by the company for benefits between the years of 2006 and 2014.
Representative Marun also assured the press that the reform will be approved in the Chamber floor. Voting should take place in the first week of May.
To make sure that happens local media is reporting that President Temer has scheduled a breakfast on Tuesday to meet with Chamber representatives who support the administration. He is expected to state that his government has met most of the legislators’ demands and now he wants them to approve the reform.
In 2016, the deficit in Social Security accounts totaled R$149.7 billion. The government estimates that this year, the deficit will jump to R$188.8 billion and, in 2018, to R$202 billion.