U.S. House ramps up for device tax repeal vote next week

Legislative momentum to repeal the dreaded 2.3% tax on medical device sales is gaining steam, with expectations that the U.S. House of Representatives could vote on a repeal bill the week of June 4.

Politico reports that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-VA) office circulated a memo outlining the timeframe to bring a vote on the bill to a head. Before that, as MassDevice reports, the House's influential Ways & Means Committee will review the bill on Thursday, in a "markup session" that would send the bill along to its full vote.

At least for now, the House vote could end up serving as nothing more than a political statement. With 238 co-sponsors (10 Democrats among them), the bill reflects serious Republican and device industry opposition to the tax as a killer of jobs and innovation. And while a Republican-sponsored bill is also at play in the Democratic-controlled Senate, the bill's sponsors will have to struggle to force it to a vote, Politico speculates.

However, supporters for the tax, which is designed to help pay for the federal health reform law, may have to fight to be heard in a volatile election year. Politico points out that the tax has become an issue in a number of House and Senate races in New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts and other states where device manufacturing is considered crucial for jobs. As a result, the Republican House vote next week could only serve to build pressure to leave the tax behind.

- read the Politico story
- check out MassDevice's take