Senate calls for an end to medical device tax

The Senate on Thursday approved a bipartisan budget amendment calling for the end of a medical device tax enacted as part of President Obama's healthcare reform bill.

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The amendment was agreed to by a vote of 79 to 20. It was sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

“Today’s action shows there is strong bipartisan support for repealing the medical device tax, with Democrats and Republicans uniting behind our effort,” Klobuchar said. “I will continue to work to get rid of this harmful tax so Minnesota’s medical device businesses can continue to create good jobs in our state and improve patients’ lives.”

The 2.3 percent tax has proven unpopular since passed in 2010, but was key to ensuring that the Obama healthcare law did not add to the deficit.

The budget resolution is not binding, so even if the Senate resolution is reconciled with a competing House version, the device tax would still be in effect.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), whose committee controls tax policy, voted "no" on the amendment.

“Today’s bipartisan vote to repeal the medical device tax is an important step in the right direction. Unfortunately, ObamaCare remains a job-killer that grows the government and slows the economy, which is why it’s important to repeal the whole thing," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after the vote.

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