Eight weeks ago, Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) press release seemed so optimistic :
Paulsen Bill to Repeal Medical Device Tax Gains Critical 218th Cosponsor
“The message from the House is clear: it’s time to repeal the medical device tax,” said Rep. Paulsen. “Not only is repeal important to the 400,000 Americans whose jobs this vital industry supports, but for the countless patients and consumers who benefit from the life-saving and life-improving technologies developed by our nation’s medical device innovators.”
Today, H.R. 523 Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2013 has 237 co-sponsors but still no hearing in the Ways and Means Committee (where Representative Paulsen is assigned) … no action in the Rules Committee to schedule it for a vote … and obviously, no vote by the full House.
237 co-sponsors … but the list does not include Majority Leader Erik Cantor.
It’s the Majority Leader that sets the agenda, and Majority Leader Cantor has issued the May Legislative Agenda … there is one specific bill that is related to medicine.
H.R. 1724, The Kids First Research Act which was introduced on April 25, 2013 and has 6 co-sponsors and no hearings yet … and cites clause 3 of section 8 of article I of the Constitution (the Commerce Clause) as its justification. Surely there are some Members of Congress who consider themselves fiscal conservatives that believe in less government spending with the private sector taking the lead, who are pleased that the sequester has brought less grants and research funding. Yet, here, Majority Leader Cantor is pushing legislation … after all, he has included a page on his Making Life Work agenda for this initiative.
NIH funding is always a hot topic … do we spend money on Majority Leader’s autism program or Representative Paulsen’s Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act … regardless, Majority Leader Cantor knows the problem — Mr. President, Spending is Clearly the Problem in Washington.
The Majority Leader’s May Legislative Agenda does not mention Erik Paulsen’s Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2013 even as it extends out to the summer … but it does promise one vote — “While we have not locked in the timing, I expect that the House will vote on full repeal of ObamaCare in the near future.”
Obviously, this is a victory for Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) and her 42 co-sponsors of H.R.45 – To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
No doubt Representative Paulsen is disappointed … but so are too many Americans who wish the Republicans would quit wasting time with endless “repeal Obamacare” votes … but then again, maybe Majority Leader Cantor realizes that Representative Paulsen has only been fear-mongering on the negative affects of the 2.3% Medical Device Excise Tax.