Tax reform has priority and discussion on a new tax rule should come later, says Lira

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Tax reform has priority and discussion on a new tax rule should come later, says Lira

The president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), said this Tuesday (31) that the intention of the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) government is to give priority to the opening of the discussion on the tax reform and to vote on the issue in up to three months. The debate on the fiscal anchor that replaces the spending cap should be opened at a later date and does not yet have a deadline for deliberation.

According to Lira, the deadline for the tax reform was set to give parliamentarians time to reopen discussions on the subject, in conversations with public managers and businessmen.

“The intention of the Minister of Economy is that we — in a month, two, two and a half — [consiga] revisit the issues, discuss the issues, bring the new parliamentarians closer to the subject, revisit municipalities, states, public administration and businessmen, so that we have, with a consolidated base of support, this vote in two and a half or three months”, said Lira to GloboNews.

The president of the Chamber said that he made “political agreements” during the electoral process and sought to approach the president of the MDB, federal deputy Baleia Rossi (MDB-SP), author of one of the tax reform proposals in the National Congress.

One of the ideas hatched in the Chamber is to take advantage of the PEC (proposed amendment to the Constitution) of Baleia’s tax reform, the 45th, since the text was created together with economist Bernard Appy, who today is part of the economic team of Minister Fernando Haddad ( Farm).

“As far as I understand the government’s intention: first [será priorizada] the tax reform and then [o Executivo enviará] the fiscal anchor within the period defined by the PEC”, he added.

Lira’s speech reinforces Haddad’s statements, who had already been saying that the tax reform can be voted on by April and, on the other hand, has not spoken about voting estimates for the new legal framework for public accounts.

The minister has until the end of August to present his proposal that will replace the spending cap (deadline granted by the Spending PEC), but he has said that he wants to present a text to Congress before that (and has mentioned April as a possibility, although he says that the proposal can go before that).

In a press conference this Tuesday, Lira reinforced, however, that the Congress agenda will be discussed in the collegiate of leaders after the return of the activities of the Legislative.

“It is difficult to talk about the agendas yet because this will require meetings of leaders, meetings with the government, meeting with the opposition. These choices will be made listening to the government, of course, there are agendas of interest to the government and there are agendas of interest to the legislature. We will always conciliate”, he added.

About to be reappointed to the presidency of the Chamber, Lira also said that the majority position of the House is the maintenance of the Coaf (Financial Activities Control Council) at the Central Bank.

Responsible for overseeing atypical financial transactions, the body has become the target of negotiations between the Bolsonaro government and Congress over the past four years.

Coaf was linked to the Ministry of Finance, but the former president tried to transfer the body to the Ministry of Justice, at the request of then Minister Sérgio Moro. In reaction, Congress returned the advice to the Ministry of Economy during the analysis of the provisional measure that carried out a reallocation in the folders.

After the imbroglio, Coaf came under the responsibility of the Central Bank, which is independent. In one of the first actions of the new government, however, Lula signed a provisional measure to return the agency to the Ministry of Finance.

“With regard to Coaf — and not my position, but the majority position of the deputies with whom I talk — the tendency is to return it to the Central Bank”, he said.

I understand that Coaf is a very important body that should look for irregular operations, not irregular subjects. When you impersonate an organ, point the finger at someone to go after an operation, it’s unnecessary. And the more impartial and far from political decision, the more it will work because it will always be available to a regulatory body of the financial system and always available to the justice bodies.”

Activities in the Chamber of Deputies will resume on Wednesday (1st), with the inauguration of new parliamentarians and the election of the Board of Directors.

Lira is the favorite to be reappointed to the presidency of the House, having gathered support from different parties in the political spectrum, from PT to PL. Federal deputy Chico Alencar (PSOL-RJ) presented a critical candidacy for Lira’s re-election, but which should not have significant support.

The president of the Chamber also affirmed that the Lula government starts the relationship with Congress losing “mobility”, considering the end of the rapporteur’s amendments.

At the end of 2022, the STF (Federal Supreme Court) considered the mechanism unconstitutional. This type of amendment was used in political negotiations and, with an amount close to R$ 20 billion, gave powers to the presidents of the Chamber and the Senate to articulate the voting of projects of interest to the summit of the National Congress.

In an agreement between Congress and the new government, the R$ 19.4 billion in rapporteur amendments planned for this year were shared between the Legislative and the Executive.

Half turned into individual parliamentary amendments and half went back into government coffers.

Congress, however, managed to maintain control even over the resources that will be allocated by the Executive, defining in the 2023 Budget which programs will be served with the R$ 9.8 billion.

“In my view, the incoming government has lost half of its mobility to manage to arrange its base in the National Congress, which will demand much more work”, said Lira.

For the president of the Chamber, the handing over of positions at the Esplanada dos Ministérios is not the “perfect model” to form a base of support in the National Congress. “But it is the model adopted by the current government and we will have to adjust”, he added.

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