A message from Temer asking for the reform to be passed by legislators was read, but his critics think the reform doesn't have enough support and it will most likely not be approved.
The reform looks to set a minimum retirement age of 65 years for men and 62 for women, as well as increasing the minimum period of contribution before retirees are permitted to collect their full pension.
Temer has been promoting the reform since last year and it has already been rejected by the congress. In order to get a higher approval, proposing lawmakers have made small concessions, but they have proved to be insufficient. Since the reform would modify the Constitution, it needs two thirds of the plenary for its approval.
"We have made adjustments to the bill to address legitimate concerns and create softer rules of transition. Now the time has come to take a decision," Temer said in his message to Congress.
His minister in charge of political affairs, Carlos Marun, however, told reporters the government was 40 votes short of the two-thirds supermajority of 308 needed for approval.
The president of the Chamber of Representatives, Rodrigo Maia from the Democrat Party, confirmed the congress agenda will be respected through the year, and that the reform will be voted after the February 19 carnival holiday.
During the session, Maia said the congress can't “drag the pensions reform beyond February” because they wouldn't be able to pass it if it gets further delayed. "Nobody will be able to govern Brazil next year if spending reforms are not made."
Maia also declared that a popular consultation would be made before the presidential elections if the Senate doesn't decide something else.
Brazil's main workers' unions, including the Brazilian Workers' Central, CTB, the Unified Workers' Central, CUT, Unionist Force, Força Sindical, Interunions, New Central and the General Workers' Union, UGT, last week announced a national protest day for next February 19, during carnival, as part of a new phase in the movement against Temer's de facto government and his elderly pensions reform.
The unions met a week ago at Força Sindical's headquarters in Sao Paulo and agreed to a new set of protests against the government's “deceitful campaign” regarding the pensions reform.
“The unions call their bases to support the communicating and explaining work about the reform's severe impact on the life of workers,” says the press release published jointly by the unions.
Temer's administration insists the initiative is essential to guarantee the pension system's ongoing security in the future and to reduce the public deficit.
Economists said Brazil's deficit is unsustainable. In GDP terms it has more than doubled between 2014 and 2017. Official figures released last month showed that the social security deficit grew by 18.7 percent in real terms in 2017, to a record 268.8 billion reais (US$82.49 billion).