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Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts. Madam President, I am pleased that the Senate is moving this week to consider the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, which is a very important piece of legislation that will help ensure Americans have access to save, innovative medical treatments by giving the FDA the resources it needs to review new products as safely and quickly as possible, while also giving the industry that certainty it needs to continue investing in new research. As I travel around Massachusetts, the No. 1 issue I find is that lack of regulatory certainty and sometimes tax certainty. This is a step in the right direction.
I am pleased that this legislation takes many steps to strengthen the medical innovation industry in the United States. I have championed one such provision with Senators MCCAIN and CASEY that will smooth the regulatory path that I referenced earlier for new, moderate-risk medical devices.
The underlying bill before us needs to be passed as quickly as possible to guarantee regulatory certainty at the FDA for the industry and its stakeholders.
However, I am disappointed the Senate has not yet taken time to address a key area of concern related to this bill; that is, the new medical device excise tax. The new 2.3 percent tax on medical device sales that was imposed in the Federal health care law will cost our economy thousands of jobs and limit Americans' access to the most groundbreaking, state-of-the-art medical devices which people need.
For the past 18 months, I have been pushing for the Senate to consider a medical device tax repeal bill that I introduced in February of 2011--one of the first bills I introduced. Today I, along with others, will be introducing an amendment to repeal this job-killing tax--a tax that will, in fact, drive up the cost of health care for patients and make our workers and our companies less competitive.
I can tell you that in Massachusetts we have over 400 medical device companies. We are an innovative State. We have the ability to have companies like these in Massachusetts, and they are employing nearly 25,000 workers and contributing over $4 billion to our economy. That is obviously a substantial industry in Massachusetts. And it affects every person throughout this country indirectly. If it goes into effect next year, this harmful tax will put American workers at a competitive disadvantage and chase jobs overseas. There are already companies, over the last year and a half, that have been looking overseas and already shifting their strategy.
Where is that 2.3 percent tax coming from? It represents, in some instances, the entire net profit for some young companies in Massachusetts and throughout the country. It will potentially cost 43,000 jobs across the country, with a loss of $3.5 billion in wages. I am not quite sure how that makes sense in anybody's book. Massachusetts alone is expected to lose over 2,600 jobs as a direct result of this tax, and up to about 10 percent of our entire medical device manufacturing workforce will be affected. The bottom line is that we cannot have this kind of job loss in any sector of our economy when we are still struggling. In Massachusetts, we have over 400 medical device companies. We do generate a tremendous amount of revenue--in the billions of dollars. So where is this tax going to come from? Is it from R&D, from growth and expansion, hiring, firing? Where? Nobody seems to know.
I can tell you that the Massachusetts companies and companies throughout the United States are deeply concerned about this. I find it surprising and disappointing that there is not a consensus to repeal the medical device excise tax which will affect States across this country. Whether it is on another bill or a stand-alone bill, we need to get it done the way we did, in a truly bipartisan, bicameral manner, on the 3-percent withholding, the 1099 fix, the hire a veteran bill or the insider trading bill. We have worked together in a bipartisan manner to get things done. It matters a great deal to Massachusetts, and it should concern every Member of this body.
Madam President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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