My July 13 column posted on this website discussed the huge expansion in IRS Form 1099 reporting requirements buried in Section 9006 of the new healthcare act enacted in March. I pointed out that not only would this law lead to a huge increase in paperwork burdens for businesses starting in 2012, but also that it would inevitably lead to soaring identity theft problems.
This issue has received more national coverage, much of it misleading and bordering on being hysterical, compared to any other subject I have ever discussed. Since then, I have been interviewed by ABC News, Fox Business News, and Bloomberg, who all seemed to ignore the identity theft part of the problem with the expansion of Form 1099 reporting requirements.
Obviously, a lot of people have been contacting their Congressional representatives and senators. The number of co-sponsors of Rep. Daniel Lungren’s (R-CA) HR 5141 to repeal Section 9006 rose quickly to 160 (virtually all Republicans). A companion bill, S 3578, was entered in the Senate by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) on July 14 and already has 19 Republican co-sponsors. A number of Congressional Democrats have quietly informed the sponsors of these bills that they would vote for the repeal.
In the meantime, public opposition to Section 9006 has grown. It’s repeal has now been advocated by the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, just to name a few. There has been virtually no one speaking in support of this growth in paperwork burdens for businesses.
Unfortunately, there is a huge political problem. Section 9006 was pushed through Congress by the Democrat leadership (with the support of President Obama) as part of the massive overhaul of the American healthcare system. The Democrats did not want to look bad by having to quickly repeal part of a law. Further, they did not want the Republicans to take the credit for the change.
To try to salvage some political capital, the Democrats introduced another bill that called for repeal of Section 9006. However, the new bill also carried other onerous anti-business provisions to increase other taxes to replace the tax revenues lost by the repeal of Section 9006. The House Democratic leadership moved to suspend the rules last week to allow this new bill to be voted on by the whole House, completely bypassing consideration by the Ways and Means Committee. For a bill to pass the House under the suspension of rules requires that it gain at least 2/3 support. When an attempt was made to pass the bill in the House on July 30, the Republicans withdrew their support in protest of the replacement burdens placed on business that were part of the bill. Republican amendments to change the legislation to be more like what the public was demanding were blocked. The bill failed to pass. In failing to pass, the new bill is, normally, considered dead.
However, there were rumors flying on August 3 that another suspension of the rules might be used in order to make a second attempt to repeal Section 9006 of Obamacare. As I write this, the outcome of the effort, if the rumors are true, is not known.
Whether or not this particular maneuver succeeds in repealing Section 9006, I suspect that something will eventually accomplish that result—and in the near future. With elections coming up in three months, no member of the House of Representatives wants to be identified as imposing huge paperwork burdens on businesses and supporting legislation that will lead to soaring increases in identity theft. While repeal is not yet a certainty, I would like to think that the actions taken by readers of the July 13 column helped spark the groundswell of opposition to the implementation of Section 9006. Thank you.
Patrick A. Heller owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Michigan and writes “Liberty’s Outlook,” a monthly newsletter covering rare coins and precious metals. Past issues can be found online at http://www.libertycoinservice.com/ Pat Heller is also the gold market commentator for Numismatic News. Past columns online at http://numismaster.com/ under “News & Articles”. His periodic radio interviews can be heard on WILS 1320 AM in Lansing, www.talkLansing.net, and on www.yourcontrarian.com