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Paulsen med-tech bill advances to U.S. House floor

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  • May 31, 2012 - 1:51 PM
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s bill to repeal the new $29 billion excise tax on medical devices under President Obama’s health care overhaul sailed through the Ways & Means Committee Thursday on a largely partisan 23 to 11 vote.
 
The committee action, which was expected, sends the Minnesota Republican’s repeal legislation to the full House for a vote, possibly as soon as next Tuesday.
 
Democrats largely opposed the measure on the grounds that it would increase the deficit and renege on what they said was a negotiated agreement with an industry that has a strong presence in Minnesota.
 
House Republicans have not identified any budget offset for the bill, nor have they said if they will.
 
Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats, have expressed support for repealing the 2.3 percent tax, which is estimated to generate $29 billion over 10 years after it kicks in next January.  But while Franken has conditioned his support on finding an offset for the lost revenue, Klobuchar has not said.
 
Republicans argue that the tax is particularly odious because it is levied on sales, not profits, meaning that it can hit small start-up companies and entrepreneurs that have yet to break into the black.
 
Paulsen, who heads a medical technology caucus in the House, called it a “tax on American innovation.”

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