Common Ground???

In his recent “60 Minutes” interview, incoming House Speaker John Boehner stated that he will refuse to “compromise” on his principles but is willing to find “common ground” on issues. So according to Speaker –in-waiting Boehner the $858 tax-cut package the Senate will pass shortly is “common ground” between Congressional Republicans, Democrats and President Obama.

How long the rank and file Tea Party folks are willing to swallow this “chicken crap” I don’t know. Their silence has been deafening on this GOP-caused deficit spending less than two months after the Tea Party apparently gave the Republicans the power to dictate all legislation in Washington.

I’m not saying that there aren’t some “common ground” parts of the Senate bill. But the biggest piece of the bill that was definitely “common ground” was extending the Bush-era tax cuts to all income under $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a joint return. Both the Republicans and Democrats said they wanted that. Had they just passed that, we could have limited our deficit spending to about 1/4th of what we will be borrowing from the Chinese under this bill.

But the GOP would have none of this unless income over those limits also got the tax cuts. So off to the deficit spending game we went.

Are there some business benefits in the Obama-GOP deal (oops, is “deal” too close to the word “compromise” for Mr. Boehner’s vocabulary)? Sure there are. But there are plenty of goodies in there that will help the economy (like extending unemployment benefits) and that won’t particularly help the economy (tax cuts for the wealthy and estate tax give-aways for multi-million dollar properties). Most of this was “compromise” regardless of Mr. Boehner’s objection to the term.

From the small business perspective, one truly “common ground” item not making it into the tax-cut package was the universally disliked 1099 IRS reporting requirement included the Affordable Care Act. This provision was estimated to bring in about $19 billion over 10 years to help cover the cost of the ACA. But all the business community and both parties agree that it will be a terrible hardship to comply with because it would require 1099’s for all business purchases of over $600.

According to yesterday’s story in POLITICO, Republicans rejected this “common ground”. Just look at the total cost of the package and you know that a mere $19 billion more couldn’t have been the reason.

As my friend John Arensmeyer, CEO of the Small Business Majority, points out in a press release below—this “common ground” was grounded by partisan politics.

Political Gridlock Shouldn’t Hold Up 1099 Fix

Statement by John Arensmeyer, CEO, Small Business Majority

Dec. 13, 2010
Reports of partisan gamesmanship blocking the Senate from fixing the 1099 reporting requirement as part of the recent tax cut deal are not only discouraging but also infuriating. We’re disappointed there are those in Congress who would turn small businesses’ success into a partisan issue. There are millions of small business owners who need relief from this provision, which would place an onerous and unnecessary paperwork burden on them if it goes into effect in 2012.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has tremendous benefits for small businesses. The 1099 provision, which was included only as a revenue-generating measure, isn’t one of them. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree this provision needs to be fixed, and more than 90 senators have voted to amend this part of the law. Yet it still exists.

It’s time for those preventing the 1099 provision from being corrected to end the political posturing. We urge all senators to look past their partisan differences and support small businesses by fixing this issue immediately.

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