AP Covers 'Paperwork Nightmare' Provision in ObamaCare Without Explaining How It Got There

There's a big "surprise" in the ObamaCare legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in late March. Imagine that.

This morning, the Associated Press's Stephen Ohlemacher reported on the status of one of them, namely an IRS-related provision in the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" that has nothing to do with patient protection or providing affordable care. The AP reporter does a decent job of explaining the current situation, but doesn't tell readers how or why the problem arose in the first place. He also gives Democrats cover for what appears to be a half-hearted effort at repeal.

The key point Ohlemacher avoided is that no almost no one in Congress had any idea that the provision, which extends Form 1099 filing requirements to virtually all vendor payments exceeding $600 in a calendar year, was in the bill. It's also clear that very few outside of Congress were aware of the provision during the run-up to the final votes, as the result of a Google News Archive search on "Obamacare 1099 $600" (not typed in quotes) shows:

GoogleNewsArchive1099Ocare073110

Here are selected paragraphs from Ohlemacher's report (bolds are mine):

Paperwork nightmare: A struggle to fix new law

Tucked into the new health care law is a requirement that could become a paperwork nightmare for nearly 40 million businesses.

They must file tax forms for every vendor that sells them more than $600 in goods.

The goal is to prevent vendors from underreporting their income to the Internal Revenue Service. The government must think vendors are omitting a lot because the filing requirement is estimated to bring in $19 billion over the next decade.

Business groups say it will swamp their members in paperwork, and Congress is listening. Democrats and Republicans want to repeal it, but getting them to work together on the issue is proving difficult in an election year.

The House rejected a bill Friday that would have repealed the provision. The two parties disagreed on how to make up the lost revenue.

"This foolish policy hammers our business community when we should be supporting their job growth," Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska said in the Republicans' weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "It's only one example of how the administration's promise to support small businesses really rings hollow."

Democrats blamed Republicans for Friday's failure.

... The House rejected the Democratic bill Friday after Democratic leaders brought it up under a procedure that requires a two-thirds majority for approval. The vote was 241-154, with nearly all Democrats voting in favor of the bill and nearly all Republicans opposed.

... Businesses already must file Form 1099s with the IRS when they purchase more than $600 in services from a vendor in a year. The new provision would extend the requirement to the purchase of goods, starting in 2012.

Uh, Steve, please re-read the bolded items, and kindly absorb these points:

  • Democrats in the House and Senate are the ones who voted for the legislation without reading it in March. The fact that the provision is in there in the first place, leading to the current "struggle" to fix it, is their fault. You should have noted that, and didn't.
  • Democrats have a majority in both houses of Congress. If they really wanted to get rid of this provision, they could declare it "emergency" legislation as they have on so many other occasions, get around their phony PayGo rules, and pass it with simple majorities. You should have noted that, and didn't.
  • But instead, "Democratic leaders" (i.e., Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and perhaps other) ginned up a procedural vote requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. Why? It is because they don't want it to pass, but instead want to engage in "blame the Republicans" rhetoric for the next 17 months? Why don't you ask someone?

For those who believe that the search graphically illustrated above is based on a pejorative term ("Obamacare") that the establishment press won't use, be assured that a similar Google News Archive search on "health care 1099 $600" (not typed in quotes) also returned nothing relevant during the first quarter of the year (the few February and March results that were returned are only there because those pages also contain more recently headlined stories).

Well, Nancy Pelosi can at least say that she warned us that there would be surprises like this when she said: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.