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Obama May Face First Veto Override: Medical Device Tax

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama has his work cut out for him if he's going to avoid House Republicans nixing part of the Affordable Care Act with a veto override.  

The 2.3 percent tax on medical devices enacted as part of that law passed Thursday in the House 280-140, giving Republicans hope they'll have the votes for an override, which requires a two-thirds majority. That came with a dozen Republicans absent for the vote. Every Republican present and 46 Democrats voted to nuke the tax. A nonbinding vote to repeal the medical device tax passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority backed by 34 members of the Democratic caucus as part of the 2013 budget resolution vote-a-rama in the Senate, but never got anywhere with then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., putting the clamps down on the chamber.  

But that vote was on a revenue-neutral proposal, while the House-passed bill would simply add about $24 billion to the debt over a decade.  

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made repealing the medical device tax a part of his agenda, so some version seems likely t0 get to Obama's desk whenever McConnell can find floor time to squeeze it in.

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