This week, the Senate voted in favor of the House-passed version of H.R. 4, the "Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011." After failing to adopt Senator Robert Menendez's (D-NJ) amendment that would modify the offset in the legislation, lawmakers voted 87-12 in favor of repealing a 1099 form requirement. As the Senate action did not alter the House-passed bill, the legislation now heads to the White House. If signed into law (which is the expectation), the legislation would mark the first significant change to the Democratic supported health care overhaul law.
The disputed provision would require businesses to submit and provide a Form 1099 for every business transaction totaling $600 or more in a given year. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate Service, an Internal Revenue Service ombudsman, the Form 1099 reporting requirement would affect 40 million business and other entities, as well as increase overhead costs for small employers. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have panned the provision as overly burdensome to small business. The main concern over the bill is its method of offsetting revenue by requiring families to repay more health insurance subsidies. While the Administration "strongly opposes" the offset, there has not been any mention of a Presidential veto.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took the bipartisan support of this repeal as a sign that Democrats are willing to support other efforts to repeal certain aspects of the health care bill. On the other side, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) warned that Democratic support should not indicate a sign that they are willing to "chip away at the health care law." Senator Landrieu, as well as several of her Democratic colleagues, have said they are open to the idea of revisiting different aspects of the law, only if these changes will bring improvement to the measure.