Earlier today, in a vote of 73 to 25, the Senate approved a Food Safety Bill that would “expand the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over farms and food processors,” but ultimately failed to attach an amendment to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement in the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers and small business lobbyists generally agree that the provision — which improves tax compliance by requiring small businesses to report any purchases over $600 to the IRS, and raises $19 billion to pay for the law — overburdens businesses with paperwork and proposed numerous amendments to repeal it. The question has always been how to pay for the $19 billion in lost revenue and last night, Sens. Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Max Baucus (D-MT) offered two solutions.
Both measures failed to garner the necessary 67 votes to be attached to the underlining legislation. The two amendments had the effect of splitting the vote for repeal, but a grand total of 53 Democrats still voted to eliminate the provision (voting for one bill or the other). Just five — Carper (D-DE), Dodd (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Harkin (D-IA) — voted to preserve the measure (against both measures). Sen. Pryor (D-AR) didn’t vote on the Johanns amendment, and then voted Nay on Baucus’ measure:
JOHANNS AMENDMENT: Repealed the 1099 provision and pays for the measure by directing Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to identify $39 billion in unspent and unobligated accounts. Failed 61 to 35. (21 Democratic voted for the measure. Bayh, Bingaman, Cantwell, Conrad, Feingold, Hagan, Klobuchar, Kohl, Lincoln, Manchin, McCaskill, Menendez, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Stabenow, Tester, Udall (CO), Udall (NM), Warner, Webb all voted in favor the measure)
BAUCUS AMENDMENT: Repealed the 1099 provision without paying for it. Failed 44 to 53. (14 Democrats voted against the measure: Bennet (CO), Bingaman, Carper, Conrad, Dodd, Durbin, Feingold, Harkin, Kohl, Lincoln, McCaskill, Nelson (FL), Udall (CO), Udall (NM) voted against the measure.)
The 1099 measures may have failed — as some Democrats objected to delegating the task of finding cuts to an agency within the executive branch — but the high vote count on the Johanns amendment suggests that the measure could pass under normal rules if it is re-introduced in the new Senate. Johanns spokesperson Natalie Krings tells me that the Senator “was pleased to see 21 of his Democrat colleagues support the amendment” and that he “intends to work with Senator Baucus on repealing the measure.” “As long as the offset is not a tax increase, he is all ears,” she added. “We’ll keep pushing and it is our hope that tonight’s show of support for job creators is another step toward scored obvious needed end result – full repeal.” It’s still unclear, however, if the CBO socred the pay-for as a savings.
The underlining bill would “allow the FDA to set new standards for farms, require processors to have hazard-control plans for preventing contamination of foods, and increase inspections of producers.” The FDA will be able to recall food it suspects is tainted, access to internal records at farms and food production facilities and “set safety standards for imported foods, requiring importers to verify that products grown and processed overseas meet safety standards.” A more robust version passed the House in 2009 and “House leaders have indicated that the House would accept the Senate version, avoiding the need to reconcile the bills.”