Health care 1099 repeal amendment a gift to Stabenow
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow's re-election bid may have just gotten a little bit easier.
Stabenow, who faces a tough bid for a third term in 2012, on Wednesday was the sponsor of an amendment that represents the first legislative tweak to the national health care overhaul. While a full repeal of the health care law fell short in the Senate Wednesday evening, Stabenow's amendment, which would repeal the 1099 tax-reporting requirement for small businesses, sailed through on a bipartisan 81-to-17 vote.
Sponsoring the 1099 repeal amendment puts the Michigan Democrat in the position of being able to take credit for leading the charge against an unpopular provision of the health care overhaul that Democrats and Republicans alike have criticized as unduly burdening small business owners.
Worth noting, though, is that while the final 1099 repeal amendment that passed Wednesday had Stabenow's name on it, the actual measure was almost identical to one proposed earlier by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).
Johanns had tried twice in the past year to push through his own 1099 repeal measure, once in September by attaching it to a small-business bill and again in November through an amendment to a food-safety bill.
Both efforts came up short. But after President Obama mentioned 1099 reform in his State of the Union address last week, things turned quickly in Johanns' favor, and his Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act soon garnered 61 co-sponsors, among them 16 Democrats -- including Stabenow.
Democrats retain control the Senate, so when it came time to schedule Wednesday's votes, it just so happened that a Democratic-led measure bearing similarities to Johanns' was the one that came up for a vote -- something Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted in remarks on the Senate floor.
Recent polling and the results of the November midterms suggest that Stabenow will need all the help she can get.
Michigan Democrats lost two House seats and the governor's mansion in November. A Detroit News poll last month showed that only 23 percent of Michigan voters would vote to re-elect Stabenow in 2012, while another survey by Republican-leaning pollster Wilson Research Strategies showed the Democrat below the 50-percent mark in general-election match-ups with two potential rivals, former state Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) and former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R).
Ahead of Wednesday's vote, Stabenow spokesperson Cullen Schwarz said that Stabenow was "glad" that Johanns also supported 1099 repeal and noted that she and her supporters believed that her version was best because it exempts the Social Security Administration from potential cuts as a way to pay for repeal.
Asked Wednesday evening about the Democratic move, Johanns acknowledged that "it really is the same amendment" but said that he was "actually kind of flattered" by the maneuver.
"I think my friends on the other side of the aisle saw that the handwriting was on the wall," Johanns said. "They couldn't let the train leave the station, if you will. And so, Senator Stabenow, for whatever reason, was picked to kind of go to the floor and call up really my amendment. But I was very, very happy to vote for my amendment and vote 'yes' and see 81 votes for it, whether it had her name on it or my name on it."
| February 3, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
Save & Share: Previous: Senate defeats Republican-led health-care repeal effort
Next: John McCain responds to Rumsfeld memoir: 'Thank God he was relieved of his duties' (video)
Posted by: LMW6 | February 4, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jackets | February 4, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: fury60 | February 3, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bethg1841 | February 3, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hndygad | February 3, 2011 6:39 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hndygad | February 3, 2011 6:38 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hndygad | February 3, 2011 6:34 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: hndygad | February 3, 2011 6:33 AM | Report abuse