UPDATED: Our Congressmen Agree on Something! (Paperwork is Terrible)

Any time eight members of a nine-person Congressional delegation can agree on something these days, it must be a good thing. That is the case with the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011.

H.R. 4 is expected to be considered on the House floor today and the subject of a vote on Thursday. The 273 co-sponsors include all six Indiana Republicans (Larry Buschon, Dan Burton, Mike Pence, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young) as well as Democrats Andre Carson and Joe Donnelly. Only Pete Visclosky is missing from the co-sponsor list, which, of course, doesn’t disqualify him from supporting the bill.

For those who don’t recall the provision or prefer to block it out in order to try and get a good night’s sleep, a section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that small business owners file a 1099-MISC with the IRS for all payments of $600 or more to a vendor in a tax year. In other words, just about everything. In a regulatory world gone awry, this might be the biggest nightmare of all if allowed to proceed.

The repeal earlier passed the Senate 81-17. Let’s hope common sense prevails in the House this week. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council has additional background and facts.

UPDATED: Thankfully, the U.S. House has voted to repeal this ridiculous measure. Surprisingly, despite being listed as a co-sponsor, Indiana Rep. Andre Carson voted against the measure. All eight other Hoosiers representatives sided with the majority in a 314-112 vote. The Senate has passed a slightly different version, so a compromise will need to be reached. Journal of Accountancy has the story.

Harper: Northeast Indiana Races Favor Banks, Souder

Mitch Harper is author of the popular blog, Fort Wayne Observed. He is also a Fort Wayne City Councilman.

The news may be that multiple counties are reporting that absentee and early voting levels are only at or below the typical levels for a mid-term election. This tends to suggest that a surge of motivated voters dissatisfied with government in general and the federal government, in particular, is not occurring in the primary cycle.

That surge may yet appear this fall. But these lower primary numbers mean that the typical Republican primary voter this year looks a lot like, well, the traditional Republican primary voter.  And that probably is a favorable sign for former Senator Dan Coats and incumbent 3rd District Congressman Mark Souder.

Senate: This is home ground for former Senator Dan Coats and State Senator Marlin Stutzman. Dan Coats is less strong here on his old home turf than many would have expected. Marlin Stutzman is well regarded here and has his own base.  Marlin also benefits by being the alternative choice of voters who might otherwise be in play for Mr. Coats or Mr. Hostettler. The impression that he is gaining momentum will have him taking votes from both Coats and Hostettler here during the next week. Will it be enough to offset the older, traditional Republican voter who favorably appreciates Dan Coats’ prior service? Maybe in northeastern Indiana but Marlin needs an extraordinary vote here to give him a chance statewide. 

However, by the conduct of his campaign, Marlin Stutzman comes out a winner regardless of Tuesday’s outcome.  

Senate District 17: The race to fill the seat of retiring State Senator "Doc" Dillon is likely to be an easy win for Whitley County Councilman Jim Banks. Mr. Banks is a meticulous campaign organizer. He is regarded as being favored easily in all of the District 17 counties with the exception of Huntington, home of County Commissioner Tom Wall. It is not that Mr. Banks won’t win that county, too, it’s just that Huntington politics is always interesting. 

US Representative, Third District: US Representative Mark Souder should win renomination. The question probably is whether he wins with over 50% of the vote over three challengers. Auto dealer Bob Thomas has spent heavily and the effect has been to marginalize Phil Troyer as the alternative choice.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Out of respect for our guest bloggers, we will not be allowing anonymous comments on their blogs this week. Additionally, the Indiana Chamber does not necessarily share the opinions of our guest bloggers.

Abdul: Coats to Victory? Tea Party May Play Pivotal Role

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is host of the popular radio program "Abdul in the Morning" on 1430 AM WXNT. He is also an attorney and columnist, and author of the blog, Indiana Barrister.

As a political talking head, I’m frequently asked who is going to win or lose elections? I tend to have a pretty good track record, but when it comes to the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate my prediction is more speculative than anything. But with that said, I think there is good chance for Dan Coats to walk away with the nomination, and the Tea Party crowd will be responsible for his victory.

On a macro-level, Tea Party people by their very nature are not a top-down organization but more a grass roots collective of activists, in other words there are no leaders, more like coordinators. And because of that mindset, Tea Party groups are not likely to endorse any candidates, the best you can hope for is to win a straw poll.

Take that and add the fact they all have a disdain for anything with Washington attached to its name and Dan Coats, and to a lesser degree John Hostettler, are not necessarily fan favorites. So where does that leave the Tea Party voter — to split his or her vote amongst Richard Behney, Don Bates, Jr., and Marlin Stutzman? You get enough people splitting votes…you see where this is going. It also doesn’t hurt that Coats is all over the airwaves.

Now I am not saying that the race is Coats’ to lose. There is still an x-factor in this race that’s larger than almost any I’ve ever seen in 20 years of covering politics. So anything can happen and it usually does. The point I’m making here is that since the Tea Party movement hasn’t coalesced around one “non-Washington” candidate, under this scenario Coats is the likely victor. Talk about irony.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Out of respect for our guest bloggers, we will not be allowing anonymous comments on their blogs this week. Additionally, the Indiana Chamber does not necessarily share the opinions of our guest bloggers.