GOP senators push for medical device tax repeal vote

But even as Senate Republicans lobby for a repeal vote, it remains more likely that the House would move first to roll back the tax.

House GOP leaders have discussed attaching a repeal of the tax to whatever stopgap spending bill they receive from the Senate, a measure they could receive as late as Sunday. The current government funding measure expires at the end of the next day, Sept. 30.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidTop Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor GOP in uncharted territory rolling back rules through resolutions MORE (D-Nev.) has already said that he would amend the funding measure to keep the government running through Nov. 15, and to strip House-passed language that would defund the healthcare law.

GOP senators are pushing for other amendment votes related to ObamaCare, but Reid, who opposed a nonbinding measure backing repeal of the medical device tax, could easily stand in the way.

Still, Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThis week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul Dissent is democratic: Stop calling McCain, Corker, Flake RINOs The farm bill presents a chance to lighten the regulatory burden of farmers MORE (R-Wyo.) and John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenSenate tax plan may delay corporate rate cut by one year: report Pence to visit ICBM base The Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-N.D.) said they expected a repeal measure to be offered as an amendment, and Hatch said that he would push to get the medical device tax in the discussions over the debt limit if opponents can’t get it repealed in the funding debate.

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill Trump wrestles with handling American enemy combatants Flake: Trump's call for DOJ to probe Democrats 'not normal' MORE (R-S.C.) first broached the idea of considering a repeal of the tax on Monday.

It’s easy to see why Republicans would latch on to medical device tax, given that it’s among the more unpopular parts of the Affordable Care Act among Democrats.

Opponents of the tax say it would put tens of thousands of jobs at risk, and put a crimp on a high-tech field that creates pacemakers, artificial hearts and an array of devices.

"We have a lot of very brilliant companies that are right on the cusp and that just puts them right off the cusp," Hatch said.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a nonbinding measure – 79-20 – backing the repeal of the tax during the debate over its budget resolution this year.

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharReported pressure on CNN in Time Warner merger raises retaliation fears Dem sens demand answers over reports DOJ wanted CNN sold Ted Cruz, Debbie Dingell help Chuck Todd celebrate 70 years of 'Meet the Press' MORE (D-Minn.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Week ahead: DHS nominee heads before Senate | Ex-Yahoo chief to testify on hack | Senators dig into election security Feinstein: Sessions should re-testify on Russia meetings MORE (D-Minn.) – whose state has a healthy medical device industry – have both been out front in pushing for repeal.

Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganDemocrats can win North Carolina just like Jimmy Carter did in 1976 North Carolina will be a big battleground state in 2020 Linking repatriation to job creation MORE (D-N.C.) recently joined legislation to roll back the tax as well, and other vulnerable Democratic senators backed the earlier budget vote.

In the House, a repeal measure sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) has roughly 260 co-sponsors, including some three dozen Democrats.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDems mull big changes after Brazile bombshell After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Bipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program MORE (D-Ill.) said he too could be open to backing a repeal measure with more teeth, as long as it didn't hurt the overall funding for the healthcare law.

“I have said from the beginning we should be open to changes in the Affordable Care Act,” said Durbin, who also voted for this year's budget amendment. “That is one I would consider – as long as the revenue is replaced, so there is no net loss in revenue.”

But both Reid and Senate Finance Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusTop Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns GOP tries to keep spotlight on taxes amid Mueller charges Clinton-Sanders tensions linger for Democrats MORE (D-Mont.) were among the 20 senators to oppose the budget measure. Baucus told reporters on Tuesday that it would be “unwise” to try to repeal the tax.

Supporters of the tax say they don’t believe the tax would hurt innovation in the medical device field, and that the healthcare law could eventually offset at least some of the cost of the tax.

Increasing the number of insured people in the U.S., supporters of the tax say, would also spark even more demand for medical devices.

Peter Schroeder and Erik Wasson contributed.