Could a Democratic Concession on the Medical-Device Tax Let Republicans Save Face?

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
Add to Briefcase
Stacy Kaper
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:05 a.m.

Rep. Jim Mc­Der­mott, D-Wash., said Demo­crats are strug­gling to find a way to let Re­pub­lic­ans save face and end the gov­ern­ment shut­down, and he sug­ges­ted that a solu­tion could be a con­ces­sion on the med­ic­al-device tax, which the Re­pub­lic­ans want to re­peal.

Mc­Der­mott, the rank­ing mem­ber on the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee Health Sub­com­mit­tee, told Na­tion­al Journ­al in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day that he is con­cerned that Re­pub­lic­ans are con­tent to con­tin­ue the shut­down un­til the debt ceil­ing hits its lim­it in mid-Oc­to­ber and drives up the eco­nom­ic stakes.

“I call it go­ing on Cruz con­trol,” Mc­Der­mott said, re­fer­ring to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is seen as fo­ment­ing shut­down fur­or. “He’s got us go­ing in a way that we are go­ing to go spin­ning down to the debt lim­it, and at that point I don’t know what hap­pens,” Mc­Der­mott said.

“My feel­ing is that we may go in­to all of that for a couple of days un­til the bond mar­kets start — and then some folks who are in the moneyed class in this coun­try say, ‘What in the hell is go­ing on? Stop this.’ “

Mc­Der­mott, a former psy­chi­at­rist, said that in con­ver­sa­tions in the House gym he has tried to un­der­stand the way his con­ser­vat­ive col­leagues see the en­dgame.

“They think that some­how it is go­ing to work out in two weeks when they get to the debt lim­it, then they’ll fi­nally have enough pres­sure, that they can get the pres­id­ent to cave,” he said.

Demo­crats are quick to pooh-pooh this strategy but the pro­spect is clearly dis­con­cert­ing.

Mc­Der­mott said that in polit­ics, when your op­pon­ent has a los­ing po­s­i­tion, the trick is to find a way to let him save face — which is something con­found­ing Demo­crats now.

“The old rule in the Chica­go play­ground was, when you’ve got your foot on some­body’s neck, don’t press, be­cause you might be on the ground some­time and you don’t want him to press on you.”

Mc­Der­mott said the game is the same on Cap­it­ol Hill. “What we are strug­gling with now is find­ing a face-sav­ing way of let­ting these guys get out of an im­possible situ­ation,” he said laugh­ing. “How do I let you lose so you don’t look like a fool?”

Mc­Der­mott sug­ges­ted a con­ces­sion on the med­ic­al-device tax used to off­set some of the cost of the Af­ford­able Care Act could be one op­tion to pur­sue.

“Does the tax on devices get rid of that? Is that the face-saver?” he pos­ited. “It could. It blows a $40-bil­lion hole in the fund­ing of the Af­ford­able Care Act, so I mean you could look at that a lot of dif­fer­ent ways. You could say, ‘Well, all right, that was the Sen­ate’s idea. House mem­bers, Demo­crats, nev­er thought it was a good idea in the first place.’ But there are a lot of dif­fer­ent ways to talk about that, so maybe that is the face-saver.”

What We're Following See More »
ENOUGH SUPPORT TO PASS?
Senators Reach Bipartisan ACA Deal
28 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Sen. Lamar Alexander says he and Sen. Patty Murray have reached a deal to fund the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing subsidies in exchange for giving states more regulatory flexibility with the law." Axios is watching to see if the deal will gather support.

Source:
INDEX UP MORE THAN 20% SINCE ELECTION
Dow Jones Hits 23,000 Threshold
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS
THE QUESTION
How Much Did George Soros Transfer to His Philanthropy?
2 hours ago
THE ANSWER

$18 billion. Open Society Foundations "has vaulted to the top ranks of philanthropic organizations, appearing to become the second largest in the U.S. by assets after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based on 2014 figures from the National Philanthropic Trust."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Much Has Trump’s Fortune Fallen in One Year?
4 hours ago
THE ANSWER

About $600 million, according to a Forbes analysis. His free cash is down by $100 million.

Source:
WROTE LAW THAT WEAKENED OPIOID OVERSIGHT
Trump: Marino Withdrawing Nomination for Drug Czar
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login