Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Disclose Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BROWN of Massachusetts. Mr. President, I rise to discuss the small business tax bill currently before the Senate, one of which I hope we have an opportunity to debate openly and fairly and allow amendments. I am not quite sure if that is going to happen, which is frustrating because the American people deserve better. When we allow the process to work and we allow everybody to have their say in the process, we ultimately get a good bill. I am hopeful we can do the same on this one.

It is good we are finally working on jobs, but I believe we should be working in a more bipartisan way, as we did with the insider trading bill, crowdfunding, the Arlington Cemetery bill, the 3-percent withholding, and many other bills. We need to work on a bill where all Members are offered an opportunity to have their votes on job-creating ideas.

I don't think one party has the monopoly on how to create jobs in this country. I think we can actually get together in a room and hammer it out and try to work to help protect the middle-class and everybody in America who wants to get out and work.

We have worked together, as I have said, on a whole host of bills. I forgot the hire a hero tax credit, which is clearly a jobs bill. I worked with Senator Bennet and Senator Merkley on that. It is a very important piece of legislation. With that type of success, I don't understand why we don't try that more often.

The new medical device tax is one more example of a policy we all know is bad for jobs and, in fact, bad for our economy. The House has already voted to repeal this

job-killing tax. I am disappointed to say the Senate has not taken the time to work to repeal it in a truly bipartisan manner.

For those who don't know what the medical device tax is or why we should even care, let me explain. In Massachusetts, we have over 400 medical device companies employing tens of thousands of people. This 2.3 percent tax on medical device sales will cost our economy thousands of jobs and limit Americans access to the most groundbreaking, state-of-the-art medical devices.

For example, Covidien, a medical device company with 2,000 employees in my home State, has estimated that taxable medical devices represent approximately 30 to 40 percent of the total net sales in 2011. What that means in plain language is that will cost Covidien between $80 million and $107 million annually. From where is that money going to come? Will it come from R&D, expansion, hiring or expanding their workforce?

Over the last 5 years, Covidien has more than doubled its R&D investment and launched more than 100 new products. One of those products is a device that restores blood flow in patients who have suffered from a stroke by mechanically removing blood clots from blocked vessels. Obviously, that is a very important device that would actually help save people's lives and save costs. Another product provides the first safe and effective treatment for large or giant wide-neck brain aneurysms available on the market, but losing $80 million to $107 million in revenue each year will put Covidien's continuing growth in very real jeopardy.

Another medical device company, Stryker Corporation, said late last year they would begin cutting 5 percent of their workforce in response to the tax. That is 1,000 jobs that will be gone as a result of this tax. Stryker expects the device tax to cost them $130 million to $150 million in the first year alone. These are just two examples. As I said, in Massachusetts we have over 400 medical device companies.

The Massachusetts medical device industry employs nearly 25,000 workers in Massachusetts and contributes over $4 billion to our economy. Massachusetts alone is expected to lose over 2,600 jobs. As a direct result of this tax, around 10 percent of our device manufacturing workforce will be affected. The bottom line is we can't have that kind of job loss in a sector of our economy that is still struggling.

Yesterday, I, along with others, introduced an amendment to repeal this job-killing medical device tax. It is a tax which will drive up the cost of care for patients and make our workers and our companies less competitive.

Some say it is time to move on from the health care bill to work on the jobs legislation. With all due respect, working on job growth means repealing the health care bill and its 18 new job-destroying taxes along with one-half trillion in Medicare cuts.

A lot of these things haven't clicked in and the American public isn't quite aware they are soon going to be affected by 18 new taxes associated with the Federal health care bill and a one-half trillion in Medicare cuts. It is time to get rid of the medical device tax before it does even more damage, not only to Massachusetts but other States that have a large medical device industry.

I urge my colleagues to get behind this effort in a truly bipartisan, bicameral manner.

I yield the floor.


Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top