July 20, 2018

Congress Will Fix This!

Senate Manages to Stay Out of Its Own Way, Passes 1099 Repeal

Now that the repeal has passed, where will all the energy spent on pandering to small businesses go?

Bowing to pressure from business groups worried about an avalanche of paperwork, the U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday to rescind a tax-reporting requirement included in last year’s healthcare overhaul law.

With bipartisan support, the Senate voted 87-12 to pass legislation sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Johanns that repeals a requirement for businesses and landlords to file a Form 1099 document with the Internal Revenue Service for purchases of goods and services exceeding $600 a year.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill at which point GOP leaders are expected to criticize him for something.

US Senate votes to repeal healthcare tax measure [Reuters]
Just a reminder: Oh, By the Way, There’s Still a New 1099 Reporting Requirement for 2012 in the Proposed Budget

Paul Ryan: Tax Reform Hero?

It is fine for Republicans to refuse to raise taxes as long as they admit we must have significant cuts in entitlements. Ryan is leading the way for the Republicans. For this he deserves kudos. It is fine for Democrats to refuse cutting entitlements as long as they admit we must have significant tax increases. Nobody is leading the Democrats. And politics requires that the President stall because he cannot even hint at a tax increase before the 2012 election. [Martin Sullivan]

Congress Continues to Successfully Drag Out the 1099 Repeal

If only somehow they could kill it completely, could we fully revel in the disfunction of the legislative branch:

What is clear is that nothing is certain with moving a 1099 repeal. The House passed a standalone measure on March 3 and the Senate tacked on an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bill, which passed the upper chamber, each with different offsets to cover the costs of the repeal.

The White House and House and Senate lawmakers across both parties back the elimination of the 1099 provision from the healthcare law but are at odds over how to make up for $22 billion in lost revenue as projected by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Fate of 1099 repeal still up in the air [The Hill]

Earlier: How Will the Senate Screw Up the 1099 Repeal Bill This Time?
Even Earlier: Vastly Unpopular 1099 Requirement Survives Thanks to the Reliable Dysfunction of the U.S. Senate

During the 1099 Repeal Debate, a Democrat More or Less Called a Bunch of Republicans Liars, Then Took it Back, and Then May Have Called Them Liars Again

The repeal of the 1099 reporting provision of the healthcare reform bill was finally passed by the House today but not before things got a little awkward when Represenative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) “said Republican claims that the law is a government takeover of healthcare had been deemed ‘the 2010 political lie of the year.’ ”

Now, on its surface, this seems like a little bit of tangential grandstanding by the man-child gentleman from Oregon but his colleague Dan Lungren (R-CA) didn’t appreciate the remark and was not about to let this slide:

Blumenauer seemed to gesture toward Lungren, who had just finished speaking, and said the Republican member called the healthcare law a government takeover.

Lungren did not directly say the law is a government takeover, but did criticize the laws in other ways.

After Blumenauer’s “lie of the year” comment, Lungren quickly interrupted to raise a point of order and ask whether Blumenauer should be allowed to say, or imply, that Lungren is a liar.

Blumenauer – not to be outdone – countered this challenge with one of his own:

Asked if he was demanding Blumenauer’s words be “taken down” — a challenge to their propriety — Lungren said no, but did ask the acting Speaker to warn members about referring to colleagues in this way.

The exchange continued: Blumenauer said he was simply citing a Politifact finding that Republican claims of a government healthcare takeover are the political lie of the year. Lungren then immediately asked that Blumenauer’s words be taken down.

Blumenauer, knowing he was beat, then capitulated (he’s a Democrat, after all), “Several minutes later, Blumenauer asked unanimous consent to strike his words,” and then thought better of it, “[he] repeated the Politifact citation again in his explanatory comments.”

“I’m not calling anybody a liar,” Blumenauer said. “What I intended to say … is that as we have repeated talking points about a government takeover of healthcare, this has been judged by an independent undertaking as the political lie of the year.”

It could probably go either way but someone seems to be getting called a liar in there somewhere.

Lawmakers spar over ‘lie of the year’ in debate over healthcare provision [Floor Action/The Hill]

Idaho Congressman Latest to Waste Everyone’s Time by Introducing a Bill That Would Terminate the Tax Code

Mike Simpson has represented Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District since 1999 and in that time he has cosponsored legislation that would abolish our beloved Internal Revenue Code. And even one time, in 2000, the House of Representatives managed to pass a bill that did exactly that by a vote of 229-187. It’s safe to say that, if similar legislation had been passed by the Senate and then followed up by the signature of the President, you would have heard about it. Since we haven’t heard any such news or seen any reports of this monumental legislative achievement, we can only assume that it has always been, and thus, always will be a failure and complete waste of everyone’s valuable time.

No matter! Congressman Simpson will press on for this all-important goal and making another run at ending the tyranny once and for all:

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is an original cosponsor of H.R. 462, the Tax Code Termination Act. This legislation would abolish the Internal Revenue Code and call on Congress to fundamentally reform the federal tax system.

“Over the last few years there have been several proposals to curtail the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) intrusion into the American homes. These include proposals to implement a flat tax or a national sales tax,” said Simpson. “I believe the most effective course of action is to sunset the current complex and unfair federal tax code and replace it with a simple and fair alternative.”

[via State Column]

How Will the Senate Screw Up the 1099 Repeal Bill This Time?

The upper chamber is making yet another run at repealing the 1099 requirement that was part of the healthcare overhaul despite miserable failures in the past.


The Hill reports that the new bill has 52 co-sponsors which lead you to believe that this time, repeal will be a cinch:

Senators reintroduced bills that would eliminate the 1099 requirement for businesses to report annual purchases of at least $600 from each vendor. Most Democrats, including the Obama administration, support repealing the provision, but lawmakers have clashed over how to offset the $19 billion in lost revenue.

A bill introduced Tuesday by Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) authorizes the Office of Management and Budget to identify unobligated federal funds to cover the cost of repeal.

“It’s a bad policy; it hurts businesses and it should be repealed, enough said,” Johanns said in a conference call with reporters.

The measure has 52 co-sponsors including 12 Democrats: Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Manchin, Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Mark Warner (Va.).

With such an overwhelming show of bipartisan support the only issue now is who will get the credit for saving small business as we know it?

Both parties have seized on the 1099 requirement to score political points. Republicans are posing repeal of 1099 as part of their promise to chip away at the reform law, while Democrats are touting it as a sign of their willingness to improve the current law.

Just for the sake of spiteful mischief, we’re hoping this goes nowhere (any and all theories on how they manage to do that are encouraged). Stay tuned!

Senators introduce bipartisan 1099 repeal bill [On the Money/The Hill]

Poll: This Balanced Budget Idea Starts with Higher Taxes for the Wealthy

Republicans take control in the House of Representatives this week and boy, are they ever ready. With the ink safely dry on the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the GOP is moving on to spending cuts, supporting the troops, restoring honor, launching investigations and whatever hell else was in that pledge. Wait, that last one wasn’t in there?


Anyhoo, the idea of lower taxes and spending cuts to get the federal budget in ship shape has been the GOP song and dance long before Ronnie had his own float at the Tournament of Roses Parade but a recent poll has discovered that lots of people don’t agree with that sentiment:

Raising taxes on the rich beats out cuts to defense spending, Medicare and Social Security as U.S. adults’ top preference on how to close the deficit, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll.

Sixty-one percent of Americans said that increasing taxes to the wealthy should be the first step toward balancing the budget.

By contrast, 20 percent of respondents preferred cuts to defense spending as the first option, while 4 percent said that cutting Medicare would be the best way to start cutting the deficit. Three percent said they preferred cutting Social Security.

Now you might expect a major backlash from the more affluent citizens, you know, grumbling at polo matches, yacht races and beside the swimming pools filled with gold doubloons but surprisingly, quite a few of them are okay with it:

Increased taxes on the wealthy tops those four options even among higher earners who might be most affected by a tax hike, the poll suggested. Fifty-eight percent of respondents making between $50,000 and $100,000 per year rated tax hikes as the best first step to balancing the budget, while 46 percent of those making more than $100,000 said it was their top choice, as well.

But as we have learned, the GOP isn’t really down with this. Besides, tax rates won’t be an issue again the until the second and third weeks of December 2012, so they’d prefer we concentrate on things that aren’t already safely chiseled into the political dogma.

The House Will Have a Half-Ass Vote on Tax Cuts Tomorrow

Don’t get too excited, the vote will only be on the tax cuts for those of you earning less than $250k. The vote that really counts (for the people that may be able to afford Snooki!) is being slapped onto the extension of unemployment benefits.

Jake Sherman at Politico:

The bulk of the tax cuts — for lower and middle-class incomes — will be considered in a separate vote on Thursday. Democrats have long sought to only renew tax breaks for households under $250,000 in income, but Republicans have insisted on an extension of current tax rates for everyone.

Right, then. So this is a political play by the Democrats to show everyone that they don’t suck as much as the election results would have you believe. Republicans, however, do not care for this maneuver. Rep. Dave Camp (MI) is especially annoyed and evokes small business in the process:

“This is disappointing and a sign of bad faith after the president agreed to bipartisan, bi-cameral talks. There will be bipartisan opposition to the Democrats’ push to raise taxes on small business,” Camp said.

Gotta say, it is a pretty shrewd move by the Democrats (where was this spunk in October?) but at least everyone will have to get off their ass tomorrow and do something. God forbid the Republican members of Congress actually vote on something during the lame duck session.

House Democrats set Thursday tax vote [Politico]
House GOP Balks at Middle-Class Tax Cut Vote Scheduled Thursday [Fox News]

IRS Commish Reminds Congress That If They Blow Off Tax Policy, We’ll Have a Giant Mess on Our Hands

There’s a small part of us that hopes the lame-o Congress just throws their hands up and lets all the outstanding tax policy issues expire, just to see what the fallout would be.

While we wish no harm to our practitioner friends like Joe Kristan, watching the pols in Congress squirm from the wrath of the American populace would be rather enjoyable.

Doug Shulman, on the other hand, does not share our impish impulses and wrote a letter to Congressional members on the Senate Finance and House Ways & Mean Committees, reminding them that if they let this one get away, his agency will have one hell of a mess on their hands.


Reuters has some excerpts:

“Of course, if legislation has not passed by the end of this year, our computers will have been programed incorrectly and we will need to delay filing for these individuals,” he said in a letter to the top lawmakers on the congressional committees charged with tax policy.

Realizing that the members might not quite understand what all this crazy-talk means, the Commish gave some details:

“It would be an unprecedented and daunting operational challenge to open the tax filing season under one set of tax laws with respect to AMT and extenders, begin accepting tax returns, and then have the law change,” Shulman wrote.

So essentially, re-doing a bunch of work. Nobody wants that. Luckily for everyone involved, Shulman appears to understand that while dysfunction is standard operating procedure on the Hill, most CPAs prefer providing above average client service.

Congress: Come Hell, High Water or Spiteful Democrats, We’ll Patch the AMT in the Lame Duck Session

“We plan to do everything possible to enact AMT relief legislation in a form mutually agreeable to the Congress and the president. We urge the Internal Revenue Service to take all steps necessary to plan for changes that would be made by the legislation.”

~ One of those “letters” that legislators write to bureaucrats as a form of grandstanding. This particular letter was from Max Baucus, Chuck Grassley, Sandy Levin and Dave Camp to Doug Shulman