Brazil’s Pension Reform Vote Moves to Dec. 15

Bill will be more difficult to pass if pushed back to 2018, Congress says.

As 2017 comes to an end, time is also running out for a Brazilian pension reform bill to pass.

According to Reuters, the Brazilian government’s chief whip in the lower house of Congress gave President Michel Temer’s austerity agenda an ultimatum: The bill must be voted on by December 15 or it will be put off until the following year, where approval will be more difficult.

The overhaul vote was originally scheduled for December 6.

In the week before the chamber adjourns on December 22, Congress  will be working with the 2018 budget, Lawmaker Aguinaldo Ribeiro told reporters. He explained that approval of the bill will be tougher because 2018 is an election year.

The road to passing a pension reform bill has been a rocky one for Brazil, as a corruption scandal involving Temer and controversial reform proposals, such as setting a minimum retirement age, have caused delays throughout 2017. 

Last week, a new version of the bill turned up that would require a minimum of 15 years of contributions from private sector workers. The original bill required 25. In addition, retiring public service employees will require a 25-year minimum. To attain their full benefits, workers will require 40 years of service.

The Brazilian general election is scheduled for next October, where voters will choose the president and vice president, the National Congress, state governors and vice governors, and state Legislative Assemblies.

A general strike has been scheduled by labor unions on December 5 to protest the reform.

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