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On the Federal Front: Government Shutdown Looms at Midnight; Repeal of Medical Device Tax at Stake

2018-01-19T15:24:32+00:00January 19th, 2018|

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a short-term funding bill for the government through mid-February. Yet avoiding a government shutdown is far from certain, with the Senate needing 60 votes to move it forward to a vote.

Among the provisions, the bill would help continue our military readiness and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years, which is the longest extension in history.

Also included is a big priority for the business community: suspending the medical device tax for two years.

“Obamacare’s medical device tax is a proven job-killer, especially in northern Indiana. That’s why I fought to include a two-year suspension of the tax in this bill,” stated Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02).

“It will provide relief to local manufacturers, protect Hoosier jobs and allow Congress to get back to work on a full and permanent repeal of the tax.”

Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) also voted in favor of the measure.

“One of my top legislative priorities is preventing the medical device tax from going back into effect. While I support a full repeal of this misguided tax, a two-year delay will make a significant difference for Hoosier device manufacturers and workers,” he said.

“Moving forward, it is vital that Congress comes together to pass a long-term budget deal that gives our armed forces the resources they need. Passing short-term funding legislation continues to damage the military’s readiness and delay much-needed maintenance. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to get this done.”

Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) issued the following statement on the looming shutdown, which kicks in at midnight:

“The House did its job and voted to keep the government open. Now both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate need to do their jobs and implement the President’s agenda. Unfortunately, this liberal minority in the U.S. Senate would rather play politics by shutting down the government and holding our troops hostage,” he said.

“(This is the) last chance to keep the government open. If Senate Democrats shut the government down, then they shouldn’t get to keep the filibuster. It’s time we change the rules to a simple majority in the Senate and move on without them,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Democratic Congressman André Carson (IN-07), who voted against the House measure, offered his perspective.

“It is a disgrace that almost four months into the new fiscal year, Congress will kick the can down the road another four weeks for purely partisan, ideological reasons,” Carson stated.

“Americans deserve better than simply keeping our government open a few weeks at a time. They deserve a fully funded, operational government that keeps us safe, helps communities thrive and supports families as they build better lives. I’ll stand with my Republican colleagues when they put forward a moral, compassionate bill that takes our country off autopilot and starts to move our country forward.”

At deadline for this writing, President Trump had summoned Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York to the Oval Office to try to hammer out a deal to get to the required 60 votes in the Senate to proceed to a vote.

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: causlander@indianachamber.com