FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Democrats Get Free Pass on Medical Device Tax
It would be nice if members of Congress were willing to stand by the legislation they helped pass. Unfortunately, when it comes to Obamacare, there are 33 cowardly Democrats who are scared to vouch for their support of the medical device tax, even though every Democrat voted for it in 2010 (and none of the new Democrat senators have disavowed Obamacare).
Among the 18 new Obamacare taxes is a particularly nasty 2.3% excise tax on the sales of manufacturers and importers of medical devices. The medical device tax is progressivism at its worst. It stifles innovation and manufacturing of virtually every medical device known to man – from X-ray machines to wheelchairs and hearing aids. Medical companies have already laid off thousands of workers in this $140 billion industry, and prices for medical devices are set to rise over the next few years.
It’s not surprising that many Democrats are beginning to feel the pressure back home to repeal this pernicious tax. So with control of the Senate, and so many Democrats expressing support for repeal, why has the Senate not repealed it? Because they are duplicitous defenders of Obama.
Unfortunately, Republicans led by Orrin Hatch gave these members a way out by proposing an amendment to the FY 2014 budget resolution which would repeal the medical device tax. As if on cue, 33 Democrats jumped on board, voting to pass the repeal amendment by a 79-20 margin. They know that this is only an amendment to a massive budget bill that will never have the force of law. The House budget is dead on arrival in the Senate and the Senate budget is dead on arrival in the House. Hence, Republicans allowed them to go on record as “repealing the evil medical device tax” without forcing them to make it law.
If 33 Democrats really supported repeal, they could force Harry Reid to bring it to the floor as a standalone bill. It would immediately pass out of the House with a veto-proof majority. That would ensure Obama is either forced to sign it or have it become law when Congress overrides his veto. It’s not hard to understand why Democrats don’t have the guts to embark on such a process. Instead they will send out press releases about their meaningless vote to placate the medical device companies in their states, all the while doing nothing to push through a slam dunk repeal bill.
For those in the media pining for a spirit of bipartisan, this is exactly why it never works – bipartisanship is always a one-way street.