Republicans signaled Wednesday that repealing a controversial tax provision in the healthcare law is one of their most pressing priorities.
House Republicans have renumbered the bill repealing the tax requirement as H.R. 4, signaling it will be one of their first pieces of business.
The bill would repeal language requiring companies, starting in 2012, to report all goods and services transactions valued at more than $600 to the IRS. Republicans and Democrats, and even the White House, have since said they support repealing this language, which would raise $19 billion over 10 years and was included to help pay for the healthcare law.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) had already introduced a so-called 1099 repeal bill, which was numbered H.R. 144. By bumping up that bill to H.R. 4, Republicans are making it clear that they will move this bill on an expedited basis. Traditionally, the House majority controls the first 10 bills in Congress (H.R. 1 through H.R. 10), and usually reserves those numbers for high-priority items.
House aides said they expect H.R. 4 to be taken up shortly after the House votes on H.R. 2, which would repeal the healthcare law. Republicans want to show they support repeal of the law in its entirety, although most recognize that repeal has no chance of moving in the Senate or being signed by the White House. After the repeal vote, Republicans are expected to begin taking on the law in piecemeal fashion, and H.R. 4 will be a part of that process.
In the meantime, H.R. 4 has 245 co-sponsors, more than the 194 co-sponsors of H.R. 144, a sign that support for 1099 repeal is strong and growing. Twelve Democrats are co-sponsors of the bill, including House Financial Services Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
The text of H.R. 4 is the same as H.R. 144 and would simply repeal Section 9006 of last year's healthcare law. In a statement yesterday, Lungren welcomed the decision to move the bill up on the list of priorities for the year and said repealing that section would help relieve companies of the cost of implementing it in 2012.
"If Section 9006 is not repealed, business owners will have to begin expending resources to comply with the new law, which means fewer resources will be available for growth and job creation," he said. "The engine of our economy is small business — and we cannot afford to do anything that would stall our economic recovery."
Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have said they would introduce 1099 repeal legislation on Jan. 25, the first available day for offering new bills in the Senate.