Monday, April 4, 2011: The U.S. Senate may use a procedural maneuver this week to repeal the health-care law’s provision that would have required businesses to file a 1099 tax form for purchases over $600. The maneuver would allow the Senate to pass the House version of repeal as an amendment to a small business bill currently being debated on the floor.
Some Democrats in the Senate and the White House oppose the way the repeal is funded in the 1099 repeal bill approved by the House on March 4, according to a Bloomberg report. Revenue lost by the repeal will be offset by requiring people to return overpayments of health-insurance subsidies when their income becomes greater than the threshold used to calculate the subsidy. That threshold is reached when people make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty limit over the course of a year.
Rather that debating and voting on a separate Senate version of 1099 repeal, the Senate will vote on an amendment to the small business bill, offered by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) which is identical to the repeal bill the House passed. According to a report in NationalJournal.com, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said he will allow a vote on the amendment. If Johanns’s amendment passes, under Senate rules, the House bill will be “deemed as having passed.”
An alternative amendment has been introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that would require the Health and Human Services Department to study the Johanns requirement to pay back insurance-exchange subsidies and nullify the requirement if paying back subsidies would increase health insurance costs or cut coverage for small businesses.
Amendments must receive 60 votes to be attached to a bill under Senate rules. If the Menendez amendment passes, the House would have to find time to review the bill at a time when Congress is occupied with budget deadlines.
The White House opposes the way the House bill is funded, but the administration did not threaten to veto the bill. It is unclear what the president would do should the Senate pass the House legislation.