By a vote of 81-17, the Senate passed an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill Wednesday that, assuming the legislation goes through, would repeal a small but onerous tax reporting requirement from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (AKA ObamaCare). Back in September, Kate explained:
The new Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a provision requiring that all businesses send a 1099 tax form to any vendor from whom they purchase at least $600 in goods and services in a year. A copy of this 1099 also goes to the IRS. The provision has nothing to do with health care, except that the $17 billion in revenue generated by this new paper trail will help pay for costs associated with the new law. The idea is basically to remind vendors that hey, the government knows you sold $600 or more in goods and services, so you better pay the applicable income tax.
Basically, it wasn’t well thought out and shortly after passage, both Democrats and Republicans agreed they wanted it gone. Forget today’s 81-17 vote for a moment. Max Baucus, who wrote the freaking thing to begin with, introduced language that would have nixed it last year. Repealing it was even a bullet point in President Obama’s State of the Union corporate pep talk on how to Win the Future.
The reason it wasn’t passed until now, was that Democrats and Republicans just couldn’t agree on how to cover the estimated $19 billion in revenue generated by the requirement that would be lost upon repeal. Much bickering ensued about whether to pay for it and how to pay for it — Baucus argued the PPACA already reduced the deficit enough; some Democrats just wanted to get the revenue from somewhere else; and Republicans wanted to take it out of spending. In the end, they agreed to pay for it with already appropriated but not-yet-spent funds. But not before spelling out which sacred cows (Defense, Social Security, etc.) would be exempt from getting shorted in the deal.
So after months of bickering, shuffling around different iterations of repeal and generally living up to the reputation of the world’s most deliberative body, the Senate finally got it done. But don’t worry. The esteemed chamber has neither abandoned party line votes, nor sworn off poor time management. After nearly a year of theatrics, Majority Leader Harry Reid finally allowed Republicans to get a vote on their amendment to repeal all of ObamaCare. As everybody expected, not a single Democrat voted for the measure and it went down 47-51. Your government at work!