Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Hatch Eyes Medical Device Tax Repeal for Quick Action

By Alan K. Ota, CQ Roll Call

January 8, 2014 -- Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch says he is considering moving some standalone tax measures early in the 114th Congress before acting on a tax overhaul, including repeal of the medical device tax without offsets.

The Utah Republican recently said the proposal to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices—a contentious piece of the 2010 health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152)—may be the first tax bill to be marked up in Finance.

"It's likely to be, it may not be the first," Hatch said. "We're going to have to put out the medical device bill....It will be up to the leadership. But we intend to get it out of committee, is my point. Then it will be put where the leadership decides to put it."

Hatch said he did not plan to combine the proposal to erase the medical device tax with any spending cuts or revenue-raising measures. The cost of repeal has crashed other attempts to eliminate a tax that many Democrats and Republicans oppose.

A similar proposal in the last Congress was projected to cost about $30 billion over 10 years. But supporters say the new proposal is like to carry a somewhat smaller price tag because excise tax collections have fallen below earlier projections. Deficits, meanwhile, have declined sharply, draining away some of the urgency to stay away from red ink. 

"I don't think you have to have offsets for that....We've never had offsets," he said.

Hatch said he was weighing whether to move other modest tax measures in the session's first months. "There are a lot of smaller bills that we may come up with. But we may also try to solve it in an overall tax reform bill, which I'd like to do," he said.

Several other tax writers in both parties said they were unaware of any plans to move specific bipartisan tax measures, besides the repeal of the medical device tax repeal. But some members offered suggestions for items that could be considered, such as parts of the recent one-year tax extenders law (PL 113-295), which expired at the end of 2014.  

"I would love to do standalone clean-energy legislation, tax incentives. There's things I'd love to do stand alone. We'll just have to see,'' said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a senior tax writer.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said some standalone tax cut extensions could draw bipartisan support. For example, he said permanent continuation of the research and development tax credit could move on its own.  "It could. I would need to think about other things," Portman said.

But Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said repeal of the medical device tax is uncertain because it is tied to the health care law—the revenues is intended to pay for expansion of the health care coverage—and so the action would become a magnet for contentious amendments related to the health care law and to the income tax. "It gets complicated," Nelson said.

Publication Details