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Senate tosses budget ball back to House

"Senate tosses budget ball back to House" Continued...

The House bill to keep the government running, now resting in the Senate, also permanently repeals Obamacare’s medical device tax. This 2.3 percent tax is set to raise $30 billion for Obamacare. But it threatens to send jobs overseas as medical manufacturers look for ways to avoid it.

Support for killing this measure has been bipartisan: Earlier this year, 34 Senate Democrats voted to repeal it. The two Democratic senators from New York signed a letter last year asking for the tax to be delayed. The two Democratic senators from Minnesota in July called for the tax to be repealed. But in a sign of the breakdown between the two parties in Congress, Reid said the Senate would not consider repealing the medical device tax within the government-funding bill.

The House bill to delay Obamacare for one year would mean a delay for taxpayer subsidies of insurance plans that contain elective abortion coverage. The House bill, likely to be rejected by the Senate, also contains a sentence providing conscience protections to employers and individuals who have moral and religious objections to providing the abortion coverage found in the new law.

“With the [mandate] to provide abortion drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, millions of Americans—from Hobby Lobby to the Little Sisters of the Poor—are currently being forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.

While Republicans and Democrats continue to fight it out, polls show that an increasing number of Americans do not want either a government shutdown or Obamacare. Support for the healthcare reform package is down to less than 40 percent. With the government funding bill now in the Senate, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said the debate is still a forum for conservatives to continue to bring their case against Obamacare to Americans: “We have to persuade [voters] that sitting back and doing nothing is not acceptable, not when the government is trying to take over our healthcare system.”

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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