Hillary Clinton declines to take stance on ObamaCare medical-device tax

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Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSanders: Brexit should 'sound an alarm' for Dems Analysis: Clinton crushing Trump in battleground ad wars The true story of the Benghazi committee MORE declined to take a position on repealing ObamaCare’s tax on medical devices during a speech Wednesday in Chicago to an industry group that opposes the levy.

"On the tax itself, again, I think we have to look to see what are the pluses and minuses that are embodied in a decision about either to remove or alter or continue this particular piece of the Affordable Care Act," said Clinton when asked if she supported the tax.

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"I've obviously looked at the arguments on both sides and I think we'll gather more information and that will perhaps give us a better path forward."

Clinton was speaking at the conference of AdvaMed, a medical device industry group that opposes the tax.

Republicans have sought to tie Clinton, who pushed for healthcare reform during former President Bill Clinton’s tenure in office, to ObamaCare, seeing a potent issue if she jumps into the 2016 race for president.

Her comments were captured in a video uploaded by the Republican National Committee, which criticized her for not taking a stand either way.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said last month that repealing the medical device tax would be a Republican priority if they won full control of Congress. 

The White House has repeatedly backed the tax, issuing a veto threat of a Republican bill to repeal it in 2012.

In 2013, White House press secretary Jay Carney hit back hard against a Republican proposal to attach repeal of the tax to a government funding measure, calling it an attempt to "extort from [President Obama] what they could not get through the legislative process, what they could not get at the ballot box, what they could not get at the Supreme Court."

In answering the question on her stance, Clinton said the country needed to avoid “ideological wars.”

"I just think we have to get out of the ideological wars that either we can't change anything or we have to change everything, and begin to be smart and pragmatic problemsolvers again," she said. 

Clinton also hit the sequester cuts, agreed to by the White House and congressional Republicans as an example of bad policy. 

"I believe that the so-called sequesters that were implemented are really beginning to hurt," she said. 

She said the cuts were a "handicap" on regulators. "The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is another example on the response to Ebola — they're working heroically, but they don't have the resources they used to have."

Clinton added that smart government action would help in a range of areas, hitting points that Obama also often makes. 

"We are on the cusp of another great economic era, what's happening with oil and gas in our country is unprecedented, or at least not since 40-50 years ago, have we had the capacity to be a major exporter of both oil and gas with all the advantages that will give us," she said.

"What's happening or could happen with clean energy will put people to work, will provide all kinds of economic activity," she added. "If we got serious about infrastructure again we would help employ more people, we'd have the kind of economic advancements that go along with improved infrastructure, on and on."  

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