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From national codes on forests and taxes to rules and regulations governing energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, innovation, education and health, the most important pieces of Brazil’s reform agenda are brought to the country’s Chamber of Deputies. There, 531 representatives of the Brazilian people elected every four years by 26 states and the federal district of Brasilia deliberate and vote. Although the administration of President Dilma Rousseff enjoys the support of a comfortable majority of members affiliated with political parties of her governing coalition, the major pieces of legislation are subject to negotiation and debate at the Chamber of Deputies. In the recent past, it has approved legislation submitted by the executive, but also rejected some high-profile bills initiated by the Government. The Chamber can overrule a presidential veto and it has not shied away from doing so in some instances. 

On May 22nd, the Brazil Institute of the Wilson Center, in partnership with the Brazil -U.S. Business Council, will host the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Henrique Eduardo Lyra Alves, from the Northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte. A lawyer and veteran legislator first elected in the 1970s, congressman Alves is third in the line of succession after the President and the Vice President. As president, or Speaker of the Brazilian House of Representatives, he is responsible for setting the agenda of the Chamber and plays a pivotal role in shaping not only domestic policies, but also Brazilian foreign policy, since all treaties must be approved by both the House and the Senate. In his trip to the United States, Speaker Alves will be accompanied by high-ranking, multi-party delegation of members of the House of Representatives.

Photo courtesy of flickr user henriqueeduardoalves

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