Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is offering a concession to Republicans in hopes of ending the shutdown. The concession, a repeal of the medical device tax, would be acceptable if it was offset by other revenue. Medical device companies have considerable influence in DC and lobbyed for a repeal of the tax on their products that helps pay for Obamacare.
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.”
So it seems despite the looping talking point of “we won’t negotiate with a gun to our head” the Democrats are negotiating. The medical device tax is a 2.3% excise tax instituted to fund Obamacare and went into effect earlier this year.
But there is one catch. While the Democrats are willing to negotiate on Obamacare, they want the continuing resolution that funds Obamacare passed first.
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.
Obviously this is just the beginning of the negotiations but it does seem like the Democrats are not taking the hard line they initially presented last night. Ultimately if the more moderate Republicans can talk the Tea Party faction off the ledge a repeal of the medical device tax could be part of the final deal to end the shutdown.
Did the Democrats just blink?