Congress imposes defeats on Marina, and Lula empowers the center – 05/24/2023 – Politics
The National Congress imposed, in the same day, a series of defeats on the Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva (Rede) —the main one, after the political articulation of the government gave in to pressure from the centrão with the endorsement of Lula (PT).
The wear and tear of the minister and the environmental agenda, which had already been the target of clashes within the government with the dispute between Ibama and Petrobras due to the oil exploration plan at the mouth of the Amazon, was aggravated by the advance this Wednesday (24) of a provisional measure to reorganize the Esplanada dos Ministérios.
The MP was approved by a mixed commission made up of deputies and senators and foresees changes in the structure of the government that strengthen the center and remove power from Marina.
At night, Marina suffered yet other defeats in the plenary of the Chamber. Deputies voted on an MP edited at the end of the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government and resumed excerpts that loosen the rules for protecting the Atlantic Forest —items that had been withdrawn by the Senate. The text goes to Lula’s sanction.
The Chamber also approved an urgent request (to speed up the processing) for a Temporal Framework project, which limits the demarcation of indigenous lands to occupied territories until the enactment of the 1988 Constitution. The request was approved by 324 to 131.
In relation to the MP for the reorganization of the Esplanada dos Ministérios, the text, authored by the leader of the MDB in the Chamber, Isnaldo Bulhões Jr. (AL), dehydrated the government’s environmental policy. Competencies of bodies that are currently responsible for the Environment and Indigenous Peoples will be transferred to other folders. The text was approved by 15 votes to 3.
The government’s orientation was for base parliamentarians to vote in favor of the text —since the Executive is in a hurry, since the MP will lose its validity on June 1st. The provisional measure still needs to be voted on in the plenary sessions of the House and Senate.
The original MP was edited by Lula right at the beginning of the government with the new organization of the Esplanada dos Ministérios. It was she who increased, for example, the number of ministries from 23 to the current 37.
But the text approved by the deputies in the committee weakened Marina and generated a reaction from the minister herself.
The management of ANA (National Agency for Water and Basic Sanitation), now responsible for the Environment, was transferred to the Ministry of Integration and Regional Development. The portfolio is headed by Waldez Góes — despite being from the PDT, he was nominated by União Brasil parliamentarians.
Isnaldo’s report also passed the CAR (Rural Environmental Registry), an instrument to control private lands and conflicts in preservation areas, from the ministry headed by Marina to that of Management and Innovation in Public Services.
The body is considered important for managing the inspection of environmental crimes in rural properties, such as land grabbing and deforestation.
Parliamentarians linked to the ruralist agenda defended the transfer of the CAR to the Ministry of Agriculture —resuming the structure of the Bolsonaro government.
There was also a significant defeat in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples. The commission removed the demarcation of new indigenous lands from the portfolio’s powers and placed this responsibility on the Ministry of Justice, commanded by Flávio Dino (PSB).
During the negotiations on the MP, the Lula government acted to try to avoid defeats in priority areas and ended up giving approval for the dehydration of Marina’s ministry.
The government’s political articulation yielded to pressure from the centrão, mainly from the ruralists, to shield the Civil House, responsible for executing the most important projects for the president, such as the PPI (Investment Partnership Program).
The idea of withdrawing powers from Minister Rui Costa (Casa Civil) was debated by congressional leaders amid dissatisfaction with the government’s political articulation. Rui adopted a more technical profile in charge of the folder, instead of also participating in negotiations with parliamentarians.
Lula’s interlocutors also acted to prevent the rapporteur from proposing the recreation of Funasa, extinct at the beginning of the government. The centrão pressed for the reactivation of the organ.
The Planalto assessment is that the concessions provided for in Isnaldo’s report would be inevitable with the current correlation of forces in Congress. The political wing had the diagnosis that it would be very difficult to face the articulation of the ruralist caucus in the agrarian and environmental area.
The leader of the government in Congress, Senator Randolfe Rodrigues (non-AP party), voiced this assessment.
According to him, the Executive tried throughout the morning to reach an agreement with the rapporteur to try to reverse points related to the environmental agenda — without success.
“We, the government, have not been able to move forward although we have advocated, but none of the aspects of the environmental issue have managed to make progress,” he said.
Randolfe said, however, that the government was victorious, having managed to maintain 90% of the provisional measure sent to Congress.
“Pressured by a circumstance that was not the government’s – the impasse between the Chamber and the Senate [pela tramitação das MPs]— the ultimate and central objective of the government, approval in a timely manner, […] this goal is being achieved”, he added.
Marina, in turn, did not hide her annoyance. She is already facing an internal struggle in the government in the environmental area.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy asked Petrobras to insist on a controversial oil exploration project at the mouth of the Amazon, an undertaking that opposes Minister Alexandre Silveira (PSD) to Marina. Ibama did not grant environmental licensing.
This Wednesday, Marina complained about the dehydration of the Environment.
“President Lula’s credibility, or the Minister of the Environment, is not enough. The world will look at the legal framework and see that the government structure is not the one that won the elections, it is the government structure that lost. This will close all our doors,” he said, in a hearing at the Chamber’s Environment Committee.
According to her, the changes could jeopardize the trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, since the Europeans have been trying to impose firm environmental restrictions for the signing of the term.
Marina also said that she will try to revert the alterations during the procedure in Congress. “We are going to have to have a debate, I hope there is the necessary understanding to prevent us from doing this amputation”, she said.
She also called “any attempt to dismantle the Brazilian environmental system” a “disservice”.
In a sign of the government’s lack of effort in her defense, Marina was rebuked by Minister Alexandre Silveira, who also attended a congressional hearing this Wednesday.
“Brazil’s ambassador for the environment, recognized worldwide, is President Lula,” he said. “He is the great ambassador for the defense of legality, for the environmental issue. We don’t need another.”
Isnaldo Bulhões Jr., who is the leader of the MDB in the Chamber, joined the artillery against Marina and suggested that she was acting out of a “narcissistic spirit”.
“When she speaks, I don’t know if she’s moved by a narcissistic spirit, that the Ministry of the Environment or the environmental protection policy is being emptied, that’s not true. All competences are being preserved, that’s a State policy , it is not an individual policy, of a person”, he said, in an interview with GloboNews.
The MP’s opinion endorsed this Wednesday by the deputies also strengthens ministries commanded by the centrão.
In addition to ANA’s trip to Integration, information systems that were under Marina’s purview were sent to the Ministry of Cities, headed by Jader Filho (MDB-PA).
They are: Sinisa (National Information System on Basic Sanitation), Sinir (National Information System on Solid Waste Management) and Singreh (National Water Resources Management System).
Part of the competencies of Conab (Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento), in turn, left the Ministry of Agrarian Development and went to Agriculture, under the command of Carlos Fávaro (PSD). The preliminary version of the report predicted an even greater migration of competences, but Minister Paulo Teixeira (PT) managed to reverse the movement and prevent a greater emptying of its structure.
The new report also reestablished the devolution of federal intelligence activities to the structure of the GSI (Institutional Security Office) — paving the way for the return of Abin (Brazilian Intelligence Agency) to the military body.
Understand the Esplanada MP and the controversies surrounding it
What is the Provisional Measure?The MP for the Esplanada dos Ministérios was signed by Lula during his inauguration, in order to reorganize the top echelon and its functions —the PT increased from 23 in the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government to 37 portfolios, and distributed some functions to the new holders
When does the act expire?The Provisional Measure lasts for 60 days, with an extension for another 60. Lula signed the reorganization of the Esplanada on January 1, the day of his inauguration in government, but it only started to be processed in February, when the parliamentary recess ended. With that, it must be voted on by June 1, or it will lose its effects.
How is the MP processing going?The mixed commission for analyzing the measure approved the report this Wednesday (24). The text must now be voted by the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, to become permanent.
Why is the measure important for Planalto?The MP basically defines the organization of the federal government, which also interferes with the competences of each ministry, and, therefore, how far a portfolio can execute in terms of public policy
What are the controversies surrounding the reorganization?The rapporteur for the Provisional Measure and leader of the MDB in the Chamber, federal deputy Isnaldo Bulhões Jr. (AL), dehydrated the government’s environmental policy — competences of bodies that are currently with the Environment and Indigenous Peoples will be transferred to other portfolios. He also empowered ministries with centrão parties, which will have more functions under his purview. Marina Silva (Rede), holder of the Environment, is the one who loses the most attributions, while fighting an internal dispute over the exploration of the mouth of the Amazon River by Petrobras
What are the main changes?Marina will lose some information systems on basic sanitation, solid waste and water resources to the Ministry of Cities. He will also no longer command the ANA (National Water Agency), moved to Regional Development, and the CAR (Rural Environmental Registry), transferred to the Ministry of Management.