After more than eight hours of intense debate, Brazil’s pension reform has passed the first legislative hurdle, after an important panel agreed the proposal was constitutional and pushed it forward.
The discussion between Constitution and Justice and Citizenship Commission members, which had been rescheduled following Monday’s stalemate, ended with the lower house members agreeing that President Jair Bolsonaro’s proposal is, in fact, constitutional.
They then voted 48-18 in favor of sending the bill to a special analysis committee on Thursday, according to Joice Hasselmann, one of Brazil’s congressional leaders. That group will further discuss the approved changes to the nation’s retirement plan.
Parliamentarians were concerned that the reforms were unconstitutional due to lack of budgetary and financial implication estimates.
Bolsonaro’s bill seeks to change the minimum age requirements for retirement from both the public and private sectors to help turn around the debt-stricken country. Specifically, age 65 for men and 62 for women, with the requirement that they also have contributed to Brazil’s social security system for 20 years. The current law requires 15 years of contributions for eligibility.
Analysts are expecting Congress to pass a watered-down version, to which Bolsonaro and Paulo Guedes, economy minister and one of the president’s main associates, have been openly opposed. Guedes has even threatened to resign over it.
The pension proposal is expected to move to the Senate within the next several months.
Brazil’s $67.6 billion pension debt is about 7% of the country’s gross domestic product.