Brazil’s President-Elect Bolsonaro Gets First Reality Check From Congress

(Bloomberg) -- President-elect Jair Bolsonaro got a major reality check before even taking office when the heads of both houses of Congress doused cold water on two key bills he supports.

A bill authorizing an oil tender that could shower Bolsonaro’s administration some 120 billion reais ($31.7 billion) in cash and help him slash a massive budget deficit was put on ice indefinitely by Senate chief Eunicio Oliveira. Officially, Oliveira said the bill required more time to be discussed. Yet his aides say he wants to share part of the revenue among states and municipalities to satisfy his constituents and those of his allies.

The other setback came as the head of the lower house, Rodrigo Maia, said a proposal backed by incoming Finance Minister Paulo Guedes to grant formal autonomy to the central bank wasn’t a priority and didn’t have enough support to be voted.

Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who was elected on Oct. 28 and takes office Jan. 1, has pledged to govern without granting legislators the pork and government posts they have been accustomed to in exchange for their support.

If approved, both bills would go a long way in putting Brazil back on the path toward recovering its investment grade from credit-rating firms.

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