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INTERVIEW-Brazil pensions committee chief sees 800 bln-1 trln reais reform package

Ricardo Brito and Jamie McGeever

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BRASILIA, May 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's congressional committee on pension reform is targeting approval of a package that will generate savings of between 800 billion and 1 trillion reais, its chairman said on Tuesday, but warned that the government is still well short of the lower house votes needed for the first official stage of approval.

In an interview with Reuters, federal deputy Marcelo Ramos said the pensions committee is unlikely to vote on President Jair Bolsonaro's signature economic reform bill before the first week of July due to local holidays. It will then go to the lower house and then the Senate.

"Our focus is between 800 billion and 1 trillion," Ramos said, referring to the anticipated savings over the next decade from overhauling Brazil's costly social security system. The government's proposal aims for 1.237 trillion reais ($307 billion), but markets expect it will be around 600 billion.

Lower House president Rodrigo Maia said on Tuesday he expects the bill's coordinator on the pensions committee, lawmaker Samuel Moreira, to deliver his report by June 15.

Ramos reiterated that the bill has little chance of passing until Bolsonaro starts engaging with the political parties, however.

"The government has to deal with the parties, there's no other way," Ramos said. "When you go to the plenary, you have to deal with the parties. If only to talk, to offer amendments, anything. But without negotiating with the parties, there is no vote." ($1 = 4.02 reais) (Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Jamie McGeever Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)