RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The opposition leader in the Chamber, Deputy Alessandro Molon (PSB-RJ), confirmed on Tuesday, July 9th, that the opposition will rely on an “obstruction package” to persuade legislators to vote against the Social Welfare reform.

For Molon, the federal government is “bluffing” when it claims to have more than 330 votes to pass the bill. As this is a proposed amendment to the constitution, 308 votes in favor are required.

Opposition leader Deputy Alessandro Molon (PSB-RJ) will obstruct reform vote to ‘test’ the government. (Photo: internet reproduction)

“In our understanding, the obstruction goes far, and we will turn many votes along the way. Our perception so far is that the government does not have the votes it claims to have.”

“The government is bluffing when it says it has more than 330 votes. In our view, the government does not even have 300 votes to pass the bill,” Molon told reporters.

“We will submit all the obstruction motions within our power, and we will see if the government can ensure the presence of its supporters and also the effect of our arguments on them.”

PSB will also request a separate vote on agricultural exports

The opposition leader additionally said that the PSB would request a separate vote to re-examine agricultural exports.

Last week, the Special Commission for the Social Welfare reform reinstated a tax benefit to the rural sector that withdraws R$83.9 billion (US$21 billion) from expected savings through the reform.

The text preserves the 2.6 percent tax rate exemption on the trading of agricultural production as a social contribution tax, provided that part of it is exported.

“We are going to demand that the government show whether it is really concerned with privileges or whether it will keep providing this gift of R$83 billion to the landowners who export, whilst imposing an enormous burden on teachers and police officers, with whom it intends to save a quarter of that amount,” Molon said.

For José Guimarães (PT-CE), the opposition’s “obstruction package is broad, general and unrestricted.”

“As we are sure that the government does not have the votes, we will obstruct it to force the government to get those votes. We will have at least 72 stormy hours here in plenary session,” he said.

“The government today has no more than 281 votes,” concluded the leftist.

Party leaders met behind closed doors seeking an agreement to expedite the vote on Social Welfare reform in plenary. (Photo: internet reproduction)

For minority leader, the government is unsure about the vote

According to Jandira Feghali (PCdoB – RJ), the minority leader in the Chamber, the government is “unsure” about the vote.

“The government wants a debating session this afternoon because it doesn’t have the votes. Women’s positions are united because they do not want to vote on several articles in the text, as they involve widows and orphans.”

“The text on the death benefit pension is cruel. It fixes the benefit below the minimum wage, which has never happened in the history of Brazil,” said Jandira.

“The evangelical backbenchers are also rebelling against the text. It’s generating uncertainty on the voting floor. The government is planning to vote tomorrow; it does not even want to vote today because it is unsure about the votes.”

“We will be putting forward an obstruction package — deferring by five, four, three, two, or one session, removing it from the agenda. This is a package to which we are entitled under the regulations, considering the government does not hold the required votes.”

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