US House votes to repeal tax on medical devices

June 8, 2012

The US House of Representatives ignored a White House veto threat and voted Thursday to repeal a tax on medical devices, an element of President Barack Obama's health care law which Republicans say kills jobs and hinders innovation.

Lawmakers in the Republican-led chamber voted 270-146 to repeal the 2.3-percent tax, which is set to take effect in January and hit sales of devices such as pacemakers and machines used in hospitals.

Most Democrats and the White House oppose the move as a political gimmick aimed at luring voters in the heat of an election year, and the measure has little chance of passing the Senate, where Democrats are in control.

Mitt Romney, Obama's Republican rival in the presidential election in November, said he was "encouraged that the House has done the right thing" by repealing the tax.

"With unemployment stuck over eight percent for 40 months, we can't afford policies that kill jobs and stifle innovation in one of America's most dynamic industries."

Romney has consistently pledged to repeal the , what he and others calls "Obamacare," on day one of his presidency if he is elected.

Democrats argue that the repeal will cost the government $29 billion, and Senator Carl Levin slammed the vote as a "pernicious" effort to dismantle and avoid action on key jobs-creating legislation, including a languishing highway construction bill, while Obama seeks re-election.

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