Congress sent the White House today its first rollback of last year’s health care law, a bipartisan repeal of a burdensome tax-reporting requirement that’s widely unpopular with businesses. President Barack Obama has also expressed eagerness to see the requirement go. The Senate voted 87 to 12 to repeal the filing requirement, which would have forced millions of businesses to file tax forms for every vendor selling them more than $600 in goods each year, starting in 2012. The filing requirement is unrelated to health care. However, it would have been used to pay for part of the new health law. Republicans hope it is the first of many such bills, so that ultimately the entire health care law would be scrapped. Democrats say the bill is part of an inevitable tinkering that is needed to improve the law.
“I just saw this as something that never should have been in the health care law,” says Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., who sponsored the repeal bill in the Senate. White House spokesman Jay Carney says, “We are pleased Congress has acted to correct a flaw that placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.” Businesses already must file Form 1099 with the IRS when they purchase more than $600 in services from a vendor in a year. The new provision would have extended the requirement to the purchase of goods, starting in 2012.