Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has no interest in debating a repeal of the medical device excise tax as part of any negotiations to revive a stalled tax cut bill.
"That's an Obamacare amendment. We're not going to do that. [Republicans] can have as many amendments as practical to change the bill that's on the floor, and there's plenty of amendments that need to be offered on that. We have a lot on our side," the Nevada Democrat said. "So, the answer is 'no'."
Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., deferred questions about the broader $85 billion tax extenders package to Finance Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has continued to work on finding a path for debating amendments to the bill on the floor after a debate-limiting cloture vote flopped last week .
Wyden said he was stressing GOP senators would be "welcome to offer plenty of amendments" during an extenders debate.
"I talked with Sen. [Orrin G.] Hatch this morning and I hope we'll be able to come together before too long on a process for going forward," he said.
"I think once there's an agreement I think there are not a lot of issues that would consume enormous amounts of time," Wyden said. "In other words, you could be fair to both sides so that an issue would be aired, and you could get it addressed."
The trouble, of course, is that if Reid wants amendments confined to the lapsed tax provisions, Republicans could very well balk once again.