In the day since Democrats lost their majority in the House and suffered several setbacks in the Senate, President Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have suggested that they would be open to “tweaking” or revisiting parts of the Affordable Care Act. Republican leaders continue to advocate for complete repeal of the law, promising to replace it with “common sense” proposals from their Pledge To America.
This evening, during an interview on ABC News, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated that Democrats would work to preserve the core of the law, but said that they could willing to compromise with Republicans on the so-called 1099 reporting requirement. Members of both parties have argued that this portion of the law — which was designed to bolster the tax compliance of sole proprietors and pay for coverage expansion — is overly burdensome to small business. Obama specifically mentioned the provision during his press conference today and Pelosi echoed his comments tonight [Note this is an extended version of the transcript]:
PELOSI: So, I– I don’t– I don’t– think they’re going to take health care apart. There are certain parts of it that we all may want to review– one way or another. Put it out there. But the fundamentals of it, you know, when we have our patients’ bill of rights about– no preexisting conditions, and those provisions, they are– they cannot be there unless you have this basic structure of health care reform.
So, when we have this debate piece by piece, I think the American people will see how they like pieces of it, and how they relate to each other. And that some of that– you know, at 1099, it was a center provision. We didn’t like it in the House. The President mentioned it today. We’ve already passed on the floor– the repeal of 1099 in the House of Representatives. So, you know, there are certain pieces of it that should– always be subjected to review.
In September, senators from both parties proposed legislation to amend the provision, but neither version garnered 60 votes.
Sen. Mike Johanns’ (R-NE) amendment would have repealed the tax reporting requirement for small businesses, but made up for the revenue shortfall by eliminating $11 million from the Preventive Health Task Force and weakening the individual health insurance mandate. Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) alternative proposal would have required only larger businesses to report their transactions with vendors. Since then, Democrats have offered numerous other legislative compromises.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stressed that Republicans also opposed the reporting requirement. “The first goal is repeal it and replace [the health law],” McConnell told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “If we have the votes to put it on his desk we’re going to do that. if we can’t get it to his desk or if we do and he vetoes it, we’ll go back and try to go after it piece by piece. The extraordinary unpopular individual mandate, the 1099 requirement. “