Paulsen also sees that scenario as a possibility, particularly because of the cost attached to eliminating that part of the health care law. According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate released in June, repealing the tax would cost more than $29 billion over 10 years. House Republicans offset the costs of the repeal language and other provisions that were incorporated into Paulsen’s bill for floor consideration by removing limits on reclaiming overpayments of subsidies under the overhaul.
“There’s no doubt that outright repeal is much more difficult,” he said. “However, Senate Democrats are also talking about delaying the tax and acknowledging that because you know there are implications of the tax from a jobs perspective, it would make sense to delay the tax going into the new year and, you know, addressing the issue in more comprehensive tax reform. So the dollar amount becomes a lot smaller.”
In an email, a Franken spokeswoman said the senator thinks that finding a way to finance repeal will be “very difficult right now, particularly when Congress is working to reduce our federal deficit.” But he is working to stop the tax from taking effect in January, she said, emphasizing his concerns about its effect on Minnesota.
“I will continue to press Congressional leaders to eliminate the tax, and until that happens, I believe that we need to delay its implementation so that the medical device industry isn’t hurt while we find a permanent — and fiscally responsible — solution,” Franken said in an emailed statement.
Franken and more than a dozen of his Democratic Senate colleagues have sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., asking him to support legislation that would delay implementation of the tax.
Brian Connell, director of government relations for the medical-imaging alliance, said ensuring that taxes do not increase is a key part of the fiscal negotiations and that his group is hopeful Congress will act by the end of the year.
“We think that these are great middle-class jobs,” he said. “It’s just another area where taxes shouldn’t go up on Jan. 1.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.