Washington, D.C. – The Senate approved an amendment Wednesday to repeal the expanded 1099 information reporting requirements in the health care reform law.

Two similar, but competing amendments were introduced this week by Democratic and Republican lawmakers to be attached to a larger re-authorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration. One came from Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and the other from Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., who had both introduced earlier attempts to repeal the 1099 reporting requirements.

The two amendments mainly differed in a few words regarding the handling of administrative expenses at the Social Security Administration. To avoid adding to the budget deficit, Stabenow’s amendment authorizes the director of the Office of Management and Budget to cut unnecessary unobligated spending, but exempts the Social Security Administration’s administrative expenses from being cut. There are also differences in the cost estimates of the two amendments and in how they would be offset.

The repeal of the 1099 reporting requirements enjoyed broad bipartisan support. The requirements, which were included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, would have required businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service any purchases of goods and services over $600 a year from another business or individual.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who has tried several times to get the 1099 reporting requirements repealed, hailed the approval of the amendment containing language exempting the Social Security Administration’s expenses. The Senate voted 81-17 to reject a point of order that had been raised against the Stabenow amendment.

“We heard small businesses loud and clear, and today both parties came together in a bipartisan manner to respond to their concerns,” Baucus said in a statement. “Eliminating these paperwork requirements lets small businesses focus on the critical work of growing their businesses and creating jobs. This amendment is paid for by cutting spending in other areas, but we took the extra steps to ensure that not a thin dime of Social Security money is used. The common-sense solution we passed today delivers the paperwork relief small businesses need while protecting and preserving the crucial Social Security and veterans benefits millions of people in Montana and across the country rely on.”

The larger, $34.5 billion FAA legislation enjoys wide bipartisan support and includes $8 billion for airport construction and infrastructure improvement. It also would establish a whistleblower office at the FAA, upgrade air control technologies, and create a national review board that would travel to FAA offices to perform safety audits.

There was no vote on the Johanns amendment on Wednesday. However, he hailed the passage of the repeal, pointing out that the Stabenow amendment was nearly identical to the language of the Small Business Paperwork Elimination Act that he had introduced, which had attracted 61 co-sponsors, including 16 Democrats.

“I’m thrilled that after multiple attempts to repeal this burdensome mandate, the Senate has finally done the right thing in voting to repeal it,” Johanns said in a statement. “The small business owners and organizations who stepped forward in opposition to this 1099 overreach were instrumental in sustaining the momentum that has resulted in wide bipartisan support. I look forward to continuing the effort to repeal the health care law and finding true solutions to our health care challenges. This is a big victory for our job creators.”

Stabenow also praised passage of the amendment. “Today we provided a common-sense solution for business owners so they can focus on creating jobs, not filling out paperwork for the IRS,” she said. “Since last year, I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this problem. If left unchecked, 40 million small businesses would see their IRS 1099 paperwork increase 2000 percent.”

By Michael Cohn