The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to repeal the health-care law’s 1099 tax-reporting provision, ending nearly a year’s worth of efforts to do away with one of its most unpopular requirements. The repeal measure, which passed the House last month, now goes to President Obama for his signature.
If enacted into law, the measure would mark the first successful effort to repeal part of the national health-care overhaul.
In a statement, the White House said it was “pleased Congress has acted to correct a flaw that placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.”
The final vote was 87-to-12 to repeal the provision that requires businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service all purchases of $600 or more.
The Senate-passed bill would cover the estimated $22 billion cost of eliminating the provision by forcing greater repayment of health insurance subsidies for families whose income unexpectedly exceeds certain thresholds.
An amendment offered by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) that would have directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to study the potential impact of the measure on health insurance costs and coverage for small businesses failed on a 41-to-58 vote.
“Today, the wrench has finally been pulled from the gears of progress,” Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), the sponsor of the Senate-passed measure, said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote. “I appreciate that my colleagues have seen the wisdom of avoiding further delays and getting this costly, looming paperwork burden off the backs of our job creators. We now need only a simple signature from the President and this bill will become law, saving jobs and much needed capital for our small businesses.”
Tuesday’s vote capped off nearly a year of wrangling over the health-care law’s 1099 provision. Johanns’ office noted Tuesday that the senator has introduced 1099 repeal seven different times over the past eight months, but each time, the parties were at loggerheads over how to pay for repeal.
Two months ago, the Senate approved a different 1099 repeal measure proposed by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) on an 81-to-17 vote. That measure, which would have paid for repeal by using untapped federal funds, was eventually passed over in favor of the Johanns measure passed Tuesday.
Democrats and Republicans alike have argued that the 1099 provision unduly burdens small businesses. The White House, which supports 1099 repeal, has expressed dissatisfaction with the pay-for included in the Johanns version of the legislation, although it has stopped short of issuing a veto threat.
“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and eliminating the 1099 reporting requirement is the right thing to do,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “As we move forward, we look forward to improving the tax credit policy in this legislation to ensure we protect small businesses and middle-class families. And the Administration remains eager to work with anyone with ideas about how we can make health care better or more affordable for all Americans.”