The House returned to session last week and one of the main issues discussed was the extension of the tax relief passed in 2001 and 2003. On Wednesday, I delivered a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of keeping taxes at current levels for at least two years. You can view a copy of my speech by visiting my website at www.bright.house.gov.
Additionally, I reiterated my call for to extend tax relief to nearly all Americans by sending a letter to House leadership urging a swift vote on the tax cuts. As small businesses struggle to survive, millions of Americans continue to search for jobs, and senior citizens worry about savings, it is critical that we maintain policies that create the conditions for economic recovery. Maintaining current tax levels would at least provide some semblance of stability in an otherwise unstable economy. I will continue to update you on the progress of any extension.
1099 reporting requirement repeal fails in Senate
Last week, the Senate failed to pass two separate amendments that would have removed or modified a provision in the health care law that will force businesses to file a 1099 for every business-to-business transaction over $600. Before the August District Work Period, I voted for legislation that would have completely repealed the 1099 requirement.
The 1099 reporting requirement, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2012, would be particularly harmful to small businesses. Not only would they face an onerous tax reporting mandate, the provision could also change with whom they decide to do business. It would be much more difficult for small businesses to purchase goods and services from smaller companies if they are required to fill out an additional 1099 form for each individual vendor. Many would choose to rely on a single large supplier than to negotiate with a number of small companies. Additionally, smaller companies often do not have a staff large enough to handle additional paperwork requirements.
I am extremely disappointed in the Congress's inability to work together to repeal one of the most burdensome provisions of the new health care law. Nearly everyone agrees that this requirement needs to changed, yet partisan politics on both sides of the aisle is preventing its repeal. We need to work together to find a way to repeal this provision. Our small businesses simply cannot afford another regulatory mandate, especially during these tough economic times.
Peanuts once again unfairly targeted
I recently took the lead in demanding that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reconsider its recent agriculture disaster assistance proposal, which excludes peanuts but includes other commodities affected by late 2009 flooding. Nearly all counties and commodities in the Second Congressional District were affected by heavy rains and floods in 2009. Although the USDA included cotton and soybeans in its Section 32 disaster assistance program, peanuts were conspicuously left off of the list of crops eligible for assistance.
The USDA program's stated intent was to mirror agriculture assistance legislation proposed in the House and Senate, both of which made peanut producers eligible for aid. The USDA does not seem to have any valid rhyme or reason for excluding peanuts from its Section 32 proposal. Though I am grateful for the inclusion of cotton and soybeans in the proposal, our peanut producers experienced tremendous hardships from record rain last year, which ultimately led to a below average quality of peanut.
While I understand that the USDA is operating under financial restraints, excluding peanuts is hardly justifiable. The USDA is picking winners and losers and the result is that our peanut producers continue to suffer. Peanut production has a $118 annual million economic impact and creates thousands of jobs in Alabama. It is essential our producers receive the assistance they deserve.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our offices in Montgomery at (334) 277-9113, Dothan at (334) 794-9680, Opp at (334) 493-9253, or Ozark at (334) 445-4600. You can also visit the website at www.bright.house.gov to sign up for the e-newsletter. It is my great pleasure to serve you and the entire Second District of Alabama.