You can do a lot with 59 Senate votes, and that was certainly clear this week as Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats slammed the door on a bipartisan attempt to repeal ObamaCare’s new 1099 reporting requirement on small business.
Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns’s amendment lost 46-52, as Mr. Reid kept most of his Members together in favor of requiring businesses to report to the IRS annual purchases from any contractor above $600. Business groups, especially small business, had made the vote a priority because of the huge compliance costs this burden will impose.
Yet only seven Democrats broke from the liberal pack, including endangered incumbents Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas) and Michael Bennet (Colorado). Notable nays included Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, which has thousands of small businesses. Our guess is that Ron Johnson, the businessman who is the GOP Senate nominee, will make this a popular talking point. Ditto for the opponents of Patty Murray (Washington) and Barbara Boxer (California).
This issue is certain to return in the next Congress, but the defeat is an object lesson in the power of the majority to thwart even popular measures. Liberal Democrats will do everything in their power to preserve every part of ObamaCare, so reformers are going to need every Senate seat they can get if they want to do more than posture.
Indeed they will. Every Senate seat.