Yet More Nonsense in the Senate


Pretty much everyone is on board with repealing or modifying the new 1099 reporting requirement that was added to the healthcare reform bill earlier this year in an effort to keep it within budget. The whole thing was sort of ridiculous from the start, since the new requirement would require masses of new paperwork from small businesses and bring in less than $2 billion a year for all their trouble. The easiest thing, frankly, would be to simply delete it now and forget about trying to offset the revenue, but naturally that makes too much sense. Ezra Klein fills us in on the alternatives on offer:

The Senate considered two different proposals to reform that law today. One, from Bill Nelson, would’ve exempted purchases of less than $5,000 (which is 90 percent of them) and paid for the lost revenue by cutting oil and gas subsidies. Another, by Mike Johanns, would’ve repealed the provision entirely and paid for it by cutting spending on public health and weakening the individual mandate.

So here you’ve got Democrats agreeing to modify the requirement and offset the cost by cutting oil and gas subsidies. Who could be against that? I mean, who’s actually in favor of oil and gas subsidies? Come on down, Rep. Paul Ryan!

We’re going to single out one sector of our economy, a very important sector of our economy, and say higher tax rates if you produce in the U.S. than any other sector in the economy. This is just ridiculous economics, redistribution, but more importantly, it’s just punitive. It’s punitive and it’s political and it’s not going to help our economy.

So there you go. Republicans all voted against the Nelson proposal, and Democrats, needless to say, voted against the absurd Johanns proposal, which seems to have been deliberately designed to be as offensive as possible. I mean, cutting spending on public health? Seriously?

Anyway, we all know that Republicans think tax cuts are good things that don’t need to be paid for with spending cuts, so again: why not just introduce a clean measure that gets rid of the 1099 requirement completely and doesn’t bother trying to offset it? Would the GOP caucus really vote against that?

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