BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's lower house of Congress is likely to vote on a plan to reform the country's pension system in the second half of April, House Speaker Rodrigo Maia said on Friday.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, Maia added that he is convinced that the government's proposal is "defensible." He said he would speak with leading lawmakers about voting next week on a bill to shore up the finances of states suffering a crippling fiscal crisis.

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Writing by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)