The Senate voted overwhelmingly, 87-12, Tuesday to repeal an unpopular reporting requirement in the new health care reform bill that small business owners had said would impose a tsunami of paperwork had it gone into effect in 2012. The paperwork mandate would have required all businesses to report to the IRS each time they made payments and purchases totaling more than $600 in a calendar year, regardless of what the money was used to buy.
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., spear-headed the effort with seven different attempts at repeal, and, over a year's time, support grew as small businesses made their opposition known in a flurry of lobbying and public events.
"This has had a rather tortured history, if you will. We started this effort in the summer of last year," Johanns said, noting that churches and non-profits would have been caught up in the requirement, as well. "I could not be more pleased by the action of the Senate today...We'll have the 1099 reporting requirement completely and totally repealed in the next few days."
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as the health care bill is formally known, contained the provision designed to raise revenue without raising tax rates, and removing the so-called "1099 reporting requirement," named for the IRS form which businesses would have been required to file, leaves a $19 billion hole.
Democrats, led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., contended that the PPACA is already more than $100 billion in the black, according to the nonpartisan number crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office.
Regardless, the Johanns provision, which is identical to a bill already passed by the House, would pay for itself by recouping excess health care subsidies from taxpayers.
The measure now heads to the president's desk for his signature.