October 1st, 2013
08:25 AM ET
9 years ago

Durbin: Medical device tax repeal could be 'on the table'

Washington (CNN) – A repeal of the medical device tax may be a point of compromise between the House and Senate as the two houses of Congress work to end the government shutdown, the number two Democrat in the Senate said Tuesday.

"We can work on something, I believe, on the medical device tax. That was one of the proposals from Republicans, as long as we replace the revenue," Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on CNN's "New Day."

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The medical device tax is a 2.3% excise tax created to in part fund Obamacare and went into effect at the beginning of 2013. The tax, which would raise about $30 billion in revenues over 10 years, is largely considered unpopular, including among some Democrats whose states harbor medical device employers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, for example, penned an op-ed for a trade magazine advocating for a repeal last year while she was running for the Senate.

House Republicans attached a repeal of the tax, along with a one-year delay of Obamacare, to one of the short-term spending bills, also known as a continuing resolution, it sent to the Senate in the last few days. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would not negotiate over Obamacare as long as it's attached to the spending bill.

Durbin said he's ready to put a medical device tax repeal "on the table," but only on one condition. House Republicans must first pass a short-term spending bill without any anti-Obamacare provisions. Then, he said, the Senate will be prepared to separately reconcile with House Republicans on Obamacare–but only if the government is open and functioning.

"Of course the conversation should continue, but let's not do it with our government shutdown," he told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Reid made similar comments on the Senate floor late Monday night, rejecting the House's proposal to go to conference and work out a compromise.

"We will not go to conference with a gun to our head," Reid said.

Sen. Rand Paul, who's been calling for the two houses to go to conference, said he would support passing a continuing resolution that would fund the government for a week or two and allow lawmakers to reach an agreement in the meantime.

"I do agree that negotiating with the government closed probably to them appears like strong arm tactics," the Kentucky Republican said on "New Day."

Asked Tuesday how long Durbin predicts the shutdown will last, the senator said "I hope it isn't even 24 hours."

Filed under: Dick Durbin • Rand Paul
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    Why is ANYTHING to do with the ACA on the table?? It's the LAW. My goodness, they act like President Obama who won the election is supposed to adopt Mitts platform. Don't they understand he's the POTUS not THEM??

    October 1, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    I don't think anything should be on the table at this point. Save some ammo for the debt ceiling fight, Senator. Stop thinking like an aging Democrat. You have the upper hand because you've insisted on a clean bill. The House Republicans are going to have surrender, cave in, and pass a clean bill.

    October 1, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  3. Zerubbabel

    You cannot negotiate with terrorists. Dems cannot give an inch because the next time, and there will be a next time, they will want the dems to give a foot. The PPACA is the law of the land and the GOP just needs to accept it.

    October 1, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  4. CA Independent

    Zerubbabel, Terrorists? Really? So the Democrats become the Party of No, and how the perspective changes. Democrats are the ones with issues with current laws far more than the GOP. Their either want to redefine them, or refuse to enforce them altogether, so get off your stupid analogy to terrorists. Clearly, you are a part of the problem.

    October 1, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Joan

    The Democrats could have sent a budget bill back to the Congress demanding gun control background checks, limit military style rifle sales, demand an immigration plan, demand more funding for education and the list goes on but they didn't because they know what the stakes are. It is not time for your Christmas wish list. It is time to pass a budget.

    October 1, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. jinx9to88

    Its Funny how the GOP feel they have to get something out of the deal. Dems should just buy them lunch and call it even.

    October 1, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. Data Driven

    This is about manufacturers in states. It's why even Warren is against it.

    But there's a larger point about defeating an insurrection, a rebellion within the government. Durbin is a predictably old-school wimpy Democrat who likes getting pushed around by whom he thinks are tougher guys.

    Curious to see if Reid is on board with Durbin's defection.

    Oh, and does Durbin have any thoughts on how to replace the lost revenue from the excise tax?

    October 1, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  8. pkMyt1

    So the GOP wants another unfunded stimulus for medical device manufacturers. Ok when their businesses get on but not when the Dems choice gets a stimulus?

    October 1, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. jinx9to88

    @ Joan
    The Democrats could have sent a budget bill back to the Congress demanding gun control background checks, limit military style rifle sales, demand an immigration plan, demand more funding for education.


    I agree 100% of what you just said. Great point!!!

    October 1, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    CA Independent wrote:

    Zerubbabel, Terrorists? Really? So the Democrats become the Party of No, and how the perspective changes.
    The Democrats had to become the party of "Hell No." Senate Democrats would have to be utter fools to pass a bill that funds the government for just a few weeks while it dismantles the ACA. Why would Democrats accept such a bill that takes away far more than what it offers?

    Your argument would have some merit had the funding been for like a year. But for a month? You've got to be joking. Every bill passed by the House was not a serious offer, but rather an ideological grandstand for their base.

    October 1, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. Warren

    So it looks like we do negotiate with terrorists?? Shame on the Democrats

    October 1, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. Data Driven


    " It is time to pass a budget."

    Actually, it's not even time for that. This is about paying our existing bills. It's why it's so inappropriate for Republicans to extort items from their wish-list to a CR.

    October 1, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  13. Gunderson

    Just put Curley, Larry, and Moe on the table, Dick. Oh, sorry, that be Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. You want more Tax Money? Just kill Obama Care. Jobs come back. Lot's more Tax money. You Smart, Dick?

    October 1, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. Data Driven

    Hm, I'm wondering - any actual liberals in Illinois who would care to primary Mr. Durbin the next time around?

    Not a big fan of copperheads.

    October 1, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Zerubbabel

    CA Independent

    The PPACA was passed by the House, passed by the Senate, signed into law by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court and validated by voters with President Obama's reelection. If the GOP wishes to repeal the PPACA, they need to do so in the constitutionally mandated way, through either the legislative or electoral process. So simply put, they need to win elections. Since they know that they have a hard time winning national elections, thus no leverage, they attempt to achieve their aims by attaching defund/delay the PPACA language on must pass bills. So yeah, hostage taking, the only leverage they have, an act of desparation.

    October 1, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. GOP = Greed Over People

    Do not give into the TP terrorist, it will only embolden them.

    There is nothing to negotiate, this is about the budget and has nothing to do with Obamacare(s)!

    Although, one source is reporting that the TP terrorists will have to replace the revenue, IF the tax is repealed.

    Otherwise, the deficit grows, how quickly the TP Taliban throws their "grandkids and how much they have to pay" under the train of terror!

    October 1, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. tiffinS

    I am disappointed in the republicans here.... They should have let Oblundercare pass and watch that disaster implode upon itself. That was the best chance to ditch Reid and the D senate majority in 2014. Oh well..

    October 1, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    No No No No No! NOTHING should be on the table. No negotiating with the terrorists. Repealing the tax will add to the deficit. That's working backwards and not moving the law forward.

    October 1, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Go home Durbin! Are you now saying you want to give in to domestic terrorists?

    October 1, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. CA Independent


    So Obama should enforce and defend every law on the books today. Which in fact, he has failed to do by his own admission. Sure, I can agree on that. You talk as if poorly written, or just plain stupid laws, should never be rewritten or in some cased tossed out altogether. Your argument is meaningless.

    October 1, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |