Baird to critic: I did too read the bill

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, may be a lame duck, but that hasn’t stopped the arch-conservative group Americans for Limited Government from taking pot-shots at him.

On Monday, ALG President Bill Wilson issued a statement headlined “Rep. Baird Admits Big ObamaCare Mistake.” The gist of his argument: Baird clearly failed to read the voluminous health reform bill passed by Congress in March because he let slip through a provision that would force small businesses to file 1099 forms with the Internal Revenue Service for every health care expenditure that exceeds $600.

The red tape requirement was apparently an unintended consequence of a section of the bill designed to raise $16 billion to help pay for health reform.

“If Rep. Baird had read the bill in the first place, and listened to his constituents, none of this would have been necessary,” Wilson said.

An effort to amend the bill to repeal the requirement failed to get the required two-thirds majority last Friday, before the House adjourned for its August break.

Baird has advocated for requiring a 72-hour “read the bill” provision in House rules since his early years in Congress.

Baird issued the following statement in response to the attack:

“I read the health care bill. I read the entire House and Senate bills, plus the reconciliation legislation. Additionally, I studied the Congressional Budget Office’s analyses of both bills and the reconciliation package . . . It’s because of my efforts that House members had three days to view the Senate legislation before the final vote.”

“Before I cast my vote for health care reform in March,” Baird continued, “I said the health care law was not perfect, but that it was much better than the status quo, which was unsustainable. One of my top priorities as a Member of Congress is that legislation be paid for. Both Republicans and Democrats agree on the need to make the change to prevent small businesses from being overburdened by red tape. The parties disagree on how to pay for the cost associated with the change.”

“The vote that’s been referred to by this national organization was taken last Friday,” Baird concluded. “We could have made this change then, but Republicans voted against it and it failed.”

Kathie Durbin

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