2011 Legislative Agenda : Capitol Watchdogs Wanted
Essentially, 1099s would go out to every vendor that is paid $600 and above. The language was included in the healthcare law, with the expectation that it would provide $19 billion in revenues across a 10-year stretch.
"This was, in effect, designed to close the tax gap and to make sure all of these vendors were paying taxes," Lyons explains. "The estimated revenue from the taxes currently not being collected would go to fund healthcare. That has come under huge fire, and the small business lobby has risen to the occasion."
Senators Mike Johanns (R-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and the Senate Finance Chair, Max Baucus (D-MT), each peddled amendments (Baucus' was a repeal) that were shot down. However, since the requirements don't kick in until 2012, there remained ample time to find a wooden stake (as well as the 1099's heart).
Republicans now have control over the House of Representatives, but Democrats still have a grasp on the Senate and, of course, the Big Chair. Thus, it will be difficult for Republicans—the assumed supporter of industry interests—to be able to effect change over the next couple of years. But one tool in the lobbyist toolbelt is the role of oversight for regulatory agencies.
Lyons points out that legislative foes that have been vanquished or died on the vine—environmental's Cap and Trade, unionized labor's Card Check, to name two—can come in through the back door via regulatory agencies. That is why oversight of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is so vital.
"Part of the strategy is to let people know what's happening at these regulatory agencies," Lyons comments. "For example, how does it impact climate change? We know Cap and Trade won't go through legislatively, but the EPA will try to achieve the same end through various rules and regulatory actions, like declaring greenhouse gases a public hazard. That opens the door for EPA to regulate carbon.