During a brief debate in the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator Mike Enzi, the chairman of the budget committee, let this slip before voting against Chairman David Vitter’s proposed subpoena of the false document claiming the U.S. Senate is a small business with less than 50 employees:
“I do want to make sure that I have insurance.”
Enzi went on to make the baffling claim that his Senate office is a small business:
“Each of us has our own budget each of us has our own staff so each of us met I don’t know about everybody else but I’m way under fifty, and so my staff qualifies as a small business.”
Vitter shot him down:
“Just to be clear, the application we’re talking about was made on behalf of the entire U.S. Senate. So the employer identification number was for the whole Senate, not any individual office, and the attestation was that employees for the entire U.S. Senate numbered 45. It’s pretty obvious the reason that was done was because the Senate would not qualify, over 50, under statutory law.”
You can see the exchange here:
The same anonymous long-time conservative Senate staffer who analyzed Rand Paul’s explanation for voting no also gave us permission to publish this analysis of Enzi’s position:
“For a Senator to suggest his office is a small business is a slap in the face to every small business in America.
“Small businesses often struggle to run payroll. If Enzi’s office is a small business, who in his office has to run payroll? Or, does his office rely on Senate Disbursing to run payroll?
“Small businesses have to navigate a complex IRS bureaucracy and set of forms to deal with often complex issues of tax withholding for employees. Enzi is a CPA. Who in his office has to read IRS forms to make sure that withholdings are done in accordance with IRS rules. Or, does his office rely on Senate Disbursing to ensure compliance?
“Small businesses have checking accounts from which they pay bills. Does Enzi’s office have a checking account from which it directly pays bills and staff? Or, are those bills paid for from accounts outside of Enzi’s direct control?
“Small businesses have to monitor account balances and worry about sufficient funds before they can pay bills. Does Enzi’s office worry about not being able to pay their bills like small businesses do? Or, is it taxpayer money so there is no worry at all.
“Small businesses that participate in the DC SHOP have to pick the health plan(s) that they want to offer to their employees. Who in Enzi’s office went through the employer enrollment process at the SHOP website to do this? Who in Enzi’s office had to struggle with that process? Or, did someone at OPM or Senate Disbursing office do this for all Senate offices.
“Small businesses have separate tax identification numbers (EINs) that are used to pay taxes. Does Enzi’s office have an EIN separate from the EINs used by every other “small business” office in the Senate? Or, does the Senate – for Enzi and all other Senators – use a single EIN for tax reporting purposes?
“Small businesses have to issue W-2s in January for the prior year’s payroll. Does Enzi’s office directly issue W2s? Or, do they punt that to Senate Disbursing.
“A small business with operations in multiple states, including employees in DC and Wyoming, would have to register as a taxpayer for withholding purposes in both jurisdictions. Has Enzi’s “small business” registered as a taxpaying employer in Wyoming for withholding purposes? Or, did Enzi punt on that issue and let the Senate Disbursing office do that for both Wyoming Senators?
“Several years ago, I switched jobs going from a personal office in the Senate to a leadership office in the Senate. My W-2 for the year reflected only a single employer and the name of my employer was the Senate Disbursing Office. I did not have to fill out new I9s or other forms commonly filled out by an employee hired by a new business. Even though I was supervised by two different Senators in the two different jobs my pay, my benefits, my withholdings were seamless.
“Enzi wants to claim his office is a small business yet he does not have to deal with every issue – from payroll, to balancing a checking account, to withholding, to tax compliance, to health benefits – that real small businesses have to deal with. Enzi’s argument is weak and he should be completely embarrassed to make such a ridiculous claim.”
American Commitment strongly urges Senator Enzi to reconsider his position and support Chairman Vitter’s efforts to investigate Congress’s false small business declaration. You can help byclicking here to tweet Senator Enzi directly.
We will continue supporting all of Senator Vitter’s efforts to get Congress and their staff to abide by the law. You can help us bywriting to your senators and House member here.