Congress voted before to repeal medical device tax

Republicans pick a shutdown-averting bargaining chip that Democrats have favored before

Associated Press
Congress voted before to repeal medical device tax
.

View photo

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., walks out of a Republican caucus at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. Lawmakers from both parties urged one another in a rare weekend session to give ground in their fight over preventing a federal shutdown, with the midnight Monday deadline fast approaching. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol already have overwhelmingly rejected the medical device tax that House Republicans insist on repealing as a condition for keeping the government open. It's just that those earlier votes didn't count.

Despite its unpopularity, both the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowed this week they would not let Republicans make the tax a bargaining chip in averting a government shutdown on Tuesday. Republicans nonetheless put that chip on the table Saturday, along with a new demand to delay for a year making people buy medical insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law. The requirement goes into effect Jan. 1.

Reid, through a spokesman, called the idea of repealing the medical device tax as part of an anti-shutdown bill "stupid." ''The Senate will reject any (funding bill) that includes a repeal of the medical device tax," said Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson.

"Absolutely not," White House spokesman Jay Carney answered when asked if President Barack Obama would support repealing the tax.

The 2.3 percent tax, which took effect in January, is aimed at U.S. sales of medical devices used chiefly by doctors and hospitals, such as pacemakers and CT scan machines. Consumer items are exempted, including eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids.

The tax was adopted as part of and intended to help pay for Obama's Affordable Care Act. Repealing it would cost the government an estimated $29 billion over the coming decade.

U.S. medical device companies employ about 400,000 people and boast sales of $130 billion annually. AdvaMed, the industry's largest trade group, says the tax is hurting job creation, reducing investment in medical innovation and increasing health care costs.

"The U.S. leads the world in medical technology, but the device tax threatens that leadership because it will put an additional burden on medical device innovators already struggling under the weight of America's uncompetitive tax system," the group says on its website. "The tax will be levied on medical device sales in the U.S. regardless of whether the company is making a profit."

Democrats counter that the new health care law will increase revenue for the industry by expanding health coverage to millions more people, helping offset the impact of the tax.

Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate have supported repealing the tax. Last year, 37 House Democrats voted with all 233 Republicans to repeal the tax. The bill passed the House, 270-146, but died in the Senate.

Many of the Democrats who favored the bill came from states like Minnesota, New York and California, which have a heavy presence of medical equipment makers.

In March, the Democratic-led Senate voted 79-20 to repeal the tax, but that measure was part of a nonbinding budget resolution. The vote, however, showed bipartisan support among senators for repealing the tax.

"It's got such strong support in both the House and Senate," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. "It's a tax that makes no sense. In the weakest economic recovery since World War II, the president needs to be thinking about how you keep American jobs, not either kill them or send them overseas."

___

Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

Rates

View Comments (8)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • The New 2015 Sonata®: A Step Above the Competition

    There's a Sonata® that's perfect for you, and this is your chance to build it! Visit the Hyundai® Official Site to customize your 2015 Sonata® today!

    AdChoicesHyundaiSponsored
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

    Bloomberg
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

    CNBC
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • Masters in Accounting or Forensic Accounting

    Study online in your spare time and graduate in less than two years. Accredited program from New England College School of Accounting.

    AdChoicesNew England CollegeSponsored
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • Anyone With $40 Could Become A Millionaire

    1 simple Warren Buffett quote explains the key investing strategy that could create unimaginable long term wealth for you and your family.

    AdChoicesThe Motley FoolSponsored
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • 6 Things Debt Collectors Wish You Knew

    The work debt collectors do is not popular, and has become increasingly derided by those who don’t like what we do or simply don’t know the facts about debt collection. Too often, debt collection is painted with a broad brush to create a portrait that isn’t accurate, and doesn’t properly educate…

    Credit.com
  • Boeing may have outfoxed Musk, but it could have bigger problems

    Elon Musk is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of the 21st Century, but he was outsized an old school aerospace giant. Boeing won the bulk of NASA’s contract for a space taxi.  One of the other companies vying for the deal is SpaceX, the company headed by Tesla’s Musk, will get a…

    Talking Numbers
  • Hyundai Elantra: Features & Benefits Come Standard

    More interior space, alloy wheels standard, 145 HP. Explore all the features and benefits of the Elantra at the Hyundai Official Site.

    AdChoicesHyundai®Sponsored
  • Romney-Sized IRAs Scrutinized as Government Studies Taxes

    The preliminary report attaches data to an issue that drew attention during the 2012 presidential campaign, when Republican nominee Mitt Romney reported an IRA worth $20 million to $102 million. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said many of these "massive" accounts come from deals…

    Bloomberg