Pacheco postpones voting on fuel projects due to lack of consensus


Due to the lack of consensus on the subject, the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), decided to postpone the vote on the legislative proposals that aimed to reduce the price of fuel.

The two bills pending in the Senate were scheduled to be voted on this Wednesday (16th) in the plenary of the House. However, there is resistance on the part of parliamentarians, who ask for more discussion on the opinions presented by Senator Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN).

In addition, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), showed at all times his opposition to the changes being promoted by the senators in one of the proposals, which had already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies.

“After a meeting this morning with the presidents of the Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, we decided to postpone until next week the presentation to the Plenary of PL 1472/2021 and PLP 11/2020, both projects designed as a response to the high costs of fuels”, informed the rapporteur of the proposals in a note.

The congressman argued that this is a normal measure, given that the legislative process demands caution and dialogue. “We are moving forward in the search for an understanding that will allow the text that is approved in the Senate to be processed quickly in the Chamber of Deputies. At the same time, we will listen to more people, seeking a solution that prioritizes the poorest”, completes the note.

The rapporteur also took the opportunity to criticize the government of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

“I must register that we are in this current situation as a result of a bad political decision by the government: to peg the costs of our fuel matrix to the dollar — harming many to enrich the few. The PPI review [preço de paridade de importação] and the role of Petrobras is imperative,” he said.

“That said, we will continue working on a responsible dialogue to deliver to the Brazilian people next week a legislative text able to meet the country’s needs, with courage and responsibility”, he added.

The text presented by Prates displeased members of the Ministry of Economy, for several reasons. One of them was the inclusion of the expansion of Auxílio Gás, a program that pays 50% of the value of the cylinder to 5.5 million families in extreme poverty.

The change in the program, to include at least 11 million beneficiaries, would generate an additional expense of R$ 1.9 billion – money that is not available in the Budget, according to government technicians.

They also disliked the decisions to leave the change in the collection of ICMS (Tax on fuels.

The expectation of the economic team was to effect a change from the current rates of state tax, charged in the form of a percentage of the price (“ad valorem”), to the fixed charge model per liter (“ad rem” model).

Prates proposed a uniform rate of ICMS, with the possibility of a fixed charge per liter, but with optional adhesion and focused only on diesel, biodiesel and gasoline. According to the rapporteur, the rates would be defined by deliberation of states and the Federal District.

The PT senator also ignored requests from Minister Paulo Guedes’ team (Economy) to include an authorization to the government to exempt federal taxes on diesel. For this, it would be necessary to remove provisions from the LRF (Fiscal Responsibility Law).

In his public demonstrations, Prates stressed several times that he would have no problem incorporating this change, as long as it was presented through an amendment by some parliamentarian from the government’s base in the Senate.

According to government interlocutors, negotiations are still being sought to make it possible to include the diesel tax exemption in the bill under discussion in the Senate.

Guedes’ team wants to avoid at all costs that the PEC (Proposed Amendment to the Constitution) presented by Senator Carlos Fávaro (PSD-MT), nicknamed “PEC kamikaze” for its fiscal impact, ends up gaining strength among congressmen. With extensive tax exemptions and the creation of new benefits, such as diesel aid for self-employed truck drivers, the proposal would have an impact of over R$100 billion, according to experts in the economic area.

Jean Paul Prates presented a document with proposals for the report at a meeting with bench leaders on Monday night (14). However, some leaders said that more debate was needed on the matter.

Resistance was greater in relation to the complementary bill, which changes the ICMS rules on fuels. The PSD and PSDB benches presented requests for the promotion of a hearing to discuss the issue.

There was the possibility that the proposal that creates a compensation account to dampen fluctuations in fuel prices would be voted on, leaving only the tax proposal for a second moment.

However, there was also resistance to this proposal. Some parliamentarians, for example, presented amendments to withdraw the creation of a tax to allocate resources to the compensation account.

PT senators, the bench that authored the bill, resisted this modification.

Some senators also pointed out that the bill could be innocuous. This is because it provides that the regulation of the proposal, in practice, the creation of the compensation account, would be up to the Executive, who could not act to take the proposal off the paper.

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