Boehner: Dems oppose device tax
House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office is pressing the issue of delaying the medical device tax, noting that many House Democrats and most Senate Democrats have voted in favor of its repeal.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that the issue was a non-starter, despite 33 current Senate Democrats having voted against it. The symbolic vote passed 79-20 earlier this year.
“Is Senator Reid so blinded by partisanship that he is willing to risk default on our debt to protect a ‘pacemaker tax’ that 34 Senate Democrats are on the record opposing, and he himself called ‘stupid’?” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.
(The 34 includes former senator Mo Cowan of Massachusetts, an appointee who no longer serves in the Senate. His replacement, Sen. Ed Markey, has said he supports getting rid of the tax.)
The medical device tax is emerging as a key pivot point in this debate. While it’s pretty clear that Congress would vote to get rid of it, it’s highly symbolic as it’s tied to the Affordable Care Act. Thus, by allowing it to be part of a package, the White House and Democrats would be ceding a change to the president’s health care program — something they have sworn they wouldn’t do.