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House Fails to Prevent Small Business Paperwork Deluge
Shortly before leaving Washington for the August district work period, the House considered a bill to relieve small businesses from new paperwork requirements in the healthcare law. The new law requires businesses to fill out a 1099 form for every vendor paid more than $600 in a year. This could mean a deluge of paperwork for small businesses. Because this requirement was expected to raise revenue, Democratic leadership attempted to rescind the requirement by raising taxes from other sources. I voted against the bill because I don't believe that raising taxes in other ways would truly help struggling small businesses and Americans looking for work. Because the bill was brought up under expedited procedures, it failed to pass with the required two-thirds majority. I'm a cosponsor of H.R. 5141, a bill that would simply eliminate this burdensome requirement.

FactCheck.org Looks at New Medicare Ad
The Department of Health and Human Services recently began airing an advertisement with popular TV star Andy Griffith discussing upcoming changes to Medicare benefits required by the healthcare reform law. The ad claims that the law will have little effect on Medicare coverage while ignoring the changes to Medicare Advantage programs, currently used by millions of seniors, that will cause half of all enrollees to lose their coverage. The non-partisan FactCheck.org website looked into these claims and concluded that they used "weasel words" to avoid the facts about the new law. The new ad is running on cable networks and is costing $700,000 of taxpayer money.

Stopping Changes to Flexible Spending Accounts
Currently, those enrolled in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are allowed to use pre-tax dollars to purchase over-the-counter medicines. Beginning next year, the healthcare reform law will require a prescription for any item paid for with FSA or HAS dollars. Last week, I became a cosponsor of H.R. 5923, a bill that would stop this requirement from taking effect. Typically, individuals have a short grace period at the beginning of each year to spend funds from the previous year. However, this law would prevent any reimbursement for over-the-counter products even if you are using 2010 funds.

Senators Highlight Wasteful Stimulus Spending
Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John McCain (R-AZ) released a report this week documenting the 100 most wasteful stimulus projects. They show some of the most egregious examples of how stimulus funding has failed to create meaningful jobs. Some of their examples have been highlighted in my newsletter over the past few months. The cover of the report features new windows for the Mount St. Helens visitor center that cost taxpayers $554,763. However, the center has been closed since 2007 with no plans to open back up.

Op-ed of the Week: Fixing the COBRA Catch-22
It's happened far too often in the past few years. An economy in recession drives a business to lay off a valuable employee. Immediately, a number of questions enter his or her mind. Where will I find another job? Will unemployment assistance be enough? What about health insurance?


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