On Wednesday, April 23, Senator Jorge Bornhausen (PFL, Santa Catarina) submitted to the Constitution & Justice Committee a report favorable to Bill 38/2003, drafted by Sen. Arthur Virgílio (PSDB, Amazonas), setting up a body to oversee the federal regulatory agencies by amending Law 9986/2000. Sen. Tião Viana (PT, Acre) requested time for perusal and a vote was postponed until the committee?s next sitting on April 30.
Sen. Bornhausen included two amendments in his report. One adds a sole paragraph to art. 10-A stating that regulatory agencies are defined as ?entities charged with licensing, regulating and enforcing standards for public services?. The other amendment alters paragraph 1 of art. 10-B, which says the external oversight body must include the majority and minority leaders of both houses. The amendment adds the chairs of standing committees whose purview relates to the regulated industries. If the Constitution & Justice Committee passes the bill, it will go to the floor of the lower house for a final vote.
The fact that Sen. Tião Viana, Workers Party (PT) leader in the upper house, has forced a postponement reflects the Government?s concern about the way the debate on the role and powers of regulators seems to have blown up in its face. Ministers are now seeking to calm the discussion down by blocking moves in Congress and elsewhere to shackle the regulators. Moreover, the working group set up to look into the restructuring of the regulatory agencies has already realized that drastic changes are out of the question.
A source in the PT who is closely watching the proceedings told PAY-TV News that some senior officials ?took a free ride? on President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva?s criticism of the regulators and attacked them without detailed knowledge of the facts.