Congress leader says Brazil gov’t lacks votes to pass reform

The head of Brazil’s lower house of congress said Tuesday the government doesn’t have the votes to pass a social security overhaul that is key to President Michel Temer’s economic agenda — and possibly his survival in office.

The comments by Chamber of Deputies Speaker Rodrigo Maia came after a meeting with Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles as well as the leaders of the parties in congress.

“It would have been ideal to approve the reform today,” Maia said, arguing that it was the only straightforward solution to the country’s economic crisis.

The government would need 308 votes to pass the constitutional amendment in the 513-member lower house.

Temer, whose approval rating was 5 percent in the latest national poll, has been counting on his proposals for loosening work rules and changing pensions to revive the economy and help…