“The other thing is, remember, you’ve got to make sure that there is a commitment on the part of the Senate to move the medical device tax repeal alone, and not load it up with some other tax hike or some other agenda item that the Obama administration wants,” Roskam added.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., pushed for repeal of the tax at a recent speech to the American Enterprise Institute and is likely to back such a move.
“The Leader made clear in his speech at AEI, repealing the medical device tax imposed by Obamacare is a priority and he’s pleased with the Senate’s broadly bipartisan vote towards that end,” Rory Cooper, spokesman for Cantor, said in an email last week.
McConnell’s comments signal that the issue is likely to remain a focus for Republicans, with the debate starting to sound like a reprise of an earlier battle over repealing a 1099 information reporting requirement that had been in the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). That effort, which ultimately was successful, was championed in the Senate by Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns.
Hatch has introduced a Senate bill (S 232) to repeal the device tax, and Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen is the sponsor of a House repeal measure (HR 523) that has 212 cosponsors. The provision took effect in January and opponents say it has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and innovation.
One of the Senate Democrats who has been a vocal supporter of the move to repeal the tax is Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, home to several device tax companies.
“I will continue to work to get rid of this harmful tax so Minnesota’s medical device businesses can continue to create good jobs in our state and improve patients’ lives,” Klobuchar said in a statement after the Senate vote.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.