Republican priorities being revealed in bill numbering

H.R. 4 is a bill that would repeal language in last year's healthcare law that requires companies to report all goods and services transitions valued at $600 or more to the IRS. This so-called "1099 repeal" bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), is expected to gain traction, possibly as early as February, given support among Republicans and Democrats for repealing this piece of the current law.

The need for 1099 repeal is likely to come up in the Ways & Means Committee in a January 26 hearing on the healthcare law, but it is unclear so far whether Ways & Means will hold a separate hearing on H.R. 4.

Also this week, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) introduced H.R. 10, "a bill to amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law." This bill represents an attempt by Republicans to rein in what they see as excessive regulation, and is being put forward at a time when many predict that the Obama Administration's regulatory authority may supercede the ability of Congress to pass laws, given that the Republican House and Democratic Senate are unlikely to agree on major policy issues.

Republicans have yet to fill bills 5 through 9, and has not announced H.R. 1. Past Congress's have put their top priority into that slot. For example, in the last Congress, led by Democrats, H.R. 1 was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (or the stimulus bill). Prior to that, Democrats used the top slot for a bill to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

The 108th Congress, led by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), listed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act as H.R. 1. But in the following Congress, also led by Hastert, no H.R. 1 was introduced.

So far this year, Democrats have not placed any legislation into their designated slots, H.R. 11 through H.R. 20.

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