Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted 280-140 to pass H.R. 160, a bill that eliminates the 2.3 percent medical device tax. The vote was strongly bipartisan with 46 Democrats joining all Republicans voting in favor of scrapping the tax. The vote came amid the threat of a veto from the White House, citing the bill’s cost of $24 billion over ten years, among other reasons.
The size and margin of yesterday’s vote has two potentially significant impacts. First, securing 280 “yes” votes is close to the amount necessary to override a Presidential veto. Second, the broad support in the House could give repeal proponents in the Senate hope that they can move a bill with similar bipartisan (and veto-proof) support. Recall that the Senate passed a non-binding proposal in 2013 with a veto-proof majority backed by 34 Democrats. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has repeatedly stated that device tax repeal is a priority and the ball is firmly in his court to make the next move.