The mid-term congressional election is less than two months away and some observers wonder whether the event will be all about nothing.
Agents and brokers are hoping Congress is ready to take action to eliminate a tax-reporting requirement used to offset some future costs of health care reform.
Three Senate Democrats pledged their support for a repeal of Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner. Should the House of Representatives pass HR 144, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, "we are confident that the Senate can quickly act," Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Ben Nelson, D-Neb. wrote.
"As President Obama has recently noted, our economy will recover more quickly and create more jobs if we can reduce regulations on business. Repealing this provision would be a great first step as we work together to grow the economy," they said.
Beginning in 2012, all businesses, nonprofit entities and governments will have to file a 1099 form with the Internal Revenue Service reporting any purchases of goods or services of $600 or more in a tax year. Under current law, the 1099 requirement only applies to services when the vendor is an unincorporated person or business. Agents, brokers and other small businesspeople have called for a repeal, calling it an unwarranted burden on small businesses (BestWire, Nov. 30, 2010).
"This expanded 1099 provision will impose a substantial burden on small businesses, which are the economic engines that power our economy," National Association of Professional Insurance Agents National President Fred Thomas said in a statement.
The Republican-led House voted to repeal the entire PPACA, but the Democratic-majority Senate has no plans to have that bill stand for a vote. Previous attempts to repeal the 1099 provision failed toward the end of the previous Congress, but approval of a stand-alone bill now appears likely, even if the timing is uncertain, said Charles Symington, senior vice president of government affairs for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
"We feel that this is part of the low-hanging fruit, as far as changes to the PPACA go," he said.
The bill is before the House Ways and Means Committee. It offers no offset for the approximately $219 million the 1099 provision is expected to raise over a 10-year period.
(By Sean P. Carr, Washington Bureau Manager: email@example.com)