Whatever You Do, Don't Say 'Repeal'
Looks like the White House has decided that the 1099 reporting provision in the new health care law is too onerous, and, after some anxiety about the precedent it might set for repeal, asked Congress to scale it back:
The law requires businesses to track all cumulative purchases from vendors that total $600 or more in one year. The provision was designed to raise revenue for the health care law but has been universally panned by the business community, which anticipates a mountain of new paperwork to comply.
The amendment, from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), would scale back the reporting requirements to cumulative purchases of more than $5,000 per year and exclude companies with fewer than 25 employees. So far, no Republicans have voiced support for the amendment.
"We are committed to reducing the gap between taxes legally owed and taxes paid," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday. "However, the administration believes that the burden created on businesses by the new information reporting requirement on purchases of goods that exceed $600, as included in Section 6041 of the Internal Revenue Code as modified by Section 9006 of the Affordable Care Act, is too great."
Still, we're all under strict orders to avoid calling it repeal. The letter from Geithner and Sebelius didn't use the word, and they don't support a Republican amendment that would strip the provision entirely. In other words, the administration saw which way the popular winds were blowing, realized that that defending the provision would look bad, but also knew they couldn't support a repeal. So they decided to get ahead of the issue by supporting a modification.