Schrader, Renacci, Jenkins, and Costa Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Small Businesses

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Washington, D.C., October 5, 2017 | comments

Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced the Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality (STARS) Act. This bipartisan legislation clarifies the employer mandate provision within the Affordable Care Act to provide one clear definition of seasonal employment. The simplified standard, which is consistent across industries, will reduce the administrative burden for small businesses and help them avoid steep penalties under the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act requires that employers with 50 or more full-time employees, or full-time equivalents, offer health care coverage or pay a fine. Largely designed with traditional jobs in mind, the Affordable Care Act’s employer provisions fail to account for the exceptional circumstances of employers with highly seasonal workforces. Though the Treasury Department attempted to remedy these issues through regulation, the resulting rules are confusing and create unnecessary obstacles to compliance for small, seasonal employers. Based on current law and regulation, a seasonal worker is not necessarily a seasonal employee.

“By aligning the separate definitions of ‘seasonal’ found in regulations and the ACA, Congress can eliminate unnecessary confusion and give greater certainty to small business owners and their employees. I am proud that this bipartisan, multi-regional coalition could come together to simplify compliance with our health law. Our constituents have been telling us that they want us to work together to solve the nation’s problems. This bill is a step in that direction,” stated Schrader.

“Seasonal business owners in Ohio and across the country continue to struggle to comply with the overly burdensome provisions within the ACA,” said Renacci. “As a former small business owner, I know how difficult it is to navigate our convoluted tax code and the amount of time and money that’s associated with compliance. This bill will bring much-needed clarity and flexibility to seasonal employers, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses and investing in their employees instead of devoting their limited resources to deciphering this health care law.”

“It’s no secret that Obamacare is adversely affecting employers and folks in Kansas. I am constantly reminded of the negative affects every time I tour a small business or speak with Kansans – most recently on my Kansas farm tour” said Jenkins. “Our small businesses, especially the agriculture sector, depend on seasonal help. They deserve to have clarity and this bipartisan legislation cuts through this murky law that ensures small businesses are not negatively impacted or penalized because of confusing rules. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, it’s important that we protect and promote their efforts so they can expand, create jobs and help grow our economy.”

 “By eliminating conflicting definitions of seasonal employment, the bipartisan STARS Act will clarify the ambiguities for compliance currently found in the health care law for small, seasonal employers,” said Costa. “Small businesses and family farms, which are critical to the economic stability of the San Joaquin Valley of California and our nation, need to be focusing their resources on creating jobs and providing services, not deciphering confusing and inconsistent federal health care regulations.”  

 “The STARS Act is an important bipartisan step toward accommodating the ACA to the practical needs of the real world.  The ACA is a complicated law and we need more efforts like this to translate complexity into workable solutions for job creators,” said Neil Trautwein, National Retail Federation Vice President for Health Policy.

“We applaud Representatives Renacci, Schrader, Jenkins and Costa for their leadership to repeal the seasonal worker definition in the Affordable Care Act. We urge the House to act on the Simplifying Technical Aspects Regarding Seasonality (STARS) Act as quickly as possible to ease the burden on American businesses, restaurants and workers.” – Cicely Simpson, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, National Restaurant Association 

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