Medical device tax repeal could have a shot with lame-duck Senate, but not enough juice to override veto

October 16, 2012 by Brad Perriello

A analysis shows that the bid to repeal the 2.3% medical device tax could garner enough Democratic support to clear the Senate after the election, but is unlikely to muster the votes to override a presidential veto. coverage of the medical device tax

Medical device industry insiders are hopeful that a lame-duck Senate will pass a bill repealing the medical device tax, but a analysis shows it's unlikely that repeal backers can win over enough votes to override an almost-certain veto by President Barack Obama.

The calculus changes after January, of course, with much depending on the outcome of the November election. A win by challenger Mitt Romney, who's pledged to overturn Obamacare and thereby the medical device tax, could do it; a swing to Republican control of the Senate could also boost repeal efforts. But if the status quo holds, with Democrats running the Senate and Republicans controlling the House under an Obama administration, chances of repeal are slim.

That's because a veto override requires a ⅔ majority in both chambers. Although the House last June approved a repeal bill on a 270-146 vote that left 19 votes in play, even assuming that all 19 are swayed to repeal that's still 1 vote shy of the 290 needed for a ⅔ majority.

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Turning to the Senate, where Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) companion bill needs to win over 13 Dems to pass on a simple majority, has identified 14 Democratic Senators who could be on the fence: