Thirty-four Senate Democrats join Republicans in an overwhelming vote to approve legislation sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch that would repeal a key tax in Pres. Obama's health reform law.
The Senate voted 79-20 to get rid of the law's 2.3 percent sales tax on medical device-makers.
The amendment to the budget resolution won't become law because the budget is nonbinding. But it has huge political significance as momentum builds for bipartisan consensus to get rid of another piece of Obamacare.
This levy was supposed to help pay for $29 billion of the costs of the law. But the medical device industry has raised a raucous over the tax, slowly building support to eliminate it. The tax went into effect in January.
Assuming none of the provision's backers rescind their support, there is now plenty of support to surpass the 60 votes needed to repeal the device tax — if it comes to a vote, on another bill in the future. Thirty-three Democrats and one independent who caucuses with them supported the measure.