Since Obama’s recent comment that the “private sector is doing fine,” the President has received criticism on all fronts for the gaff, and GOP leaders continued the attacks Tuesday with a press call to discuss the state of the election race in Pennsylvania.
PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason, Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) hosted the call. During the call, Gleason focused on the “just fine” comment.
“As many of you are aware, President Obama made comments last week saying that ‘the private sector is doing fine.’ Does he actually believe that the millions struggling with 8.2 percent unemployment and the many unable to find jobs are all doing fine?”
He went on to ask whether those affected by Obamacare’s regulations, including medical device companies and small businesses, were doing “fine.”
Last week, with bipartisan support from 37 Democrats, House Republicans passed a bill to repeal a portion of Obamacare that levies a 2.3 percent tax on medical device companies’ revenues.
Republicans and their supporters have painted the tax as one of Obamacare’s failings, citing such companies’ growing success in Pennsylvania and other states, and the potential outsourcing that would result under the $28 billion tax should it remain intact.
Obama has threatened to veto the bill, and released a statement saying that the excise tax “is one of several designed so that industries that gain from the coverage expansion will help offset the cost of that expansion…. H.R. 436 would fund tax breaks for industry by raising taxes on middle-class and low-income families.”
And those in favor of repealing the tax cite a study by an industry-commissioned group called AdvaMed. The study said the tax would result in the loss of 43,000 U.S. jobs and cost the medical device industry $6.7 billion (out of $116 billion) in revenue annually.
But the accuracy of the study has been questioned in an article written by Christopher Flavelle and published by Bloomberg Business Week, which said the assumptions made are exaggerated, ill-supported and thus inaccurate. He writes that the findings “conflict with economic research, overstate companies’ incentives to move jobs offshore and ignore the positive effect of new demand [for medical supplies by newly insured Americans] created by the law.”
Flavelle also writes, “[U]nder the new law, the tax will apply to all covered products—dialysis machines, pacemakers, heart monitors, and the like—sold in the U.S., regardless of where they are manufactured. Devices made in the U.S. for export are exempted from the tax. That means U.S. companies selling domestically have no new incentive to move production outside the country.”
The tax continued to be one of the call’s key talking points, along with Obama’s upcoming trip to Philadelphia (which this call was meant to preempt).
Rep. Gerlach chose to tie the visit in with the tax, saying that if the President were more serious about jobs, he would visit medical device manufacturers just a few miles west of the city hosting his fund raiser.
Rep. Dent added that the tax worked well with what he called the “trifecta” of higher costs, low jobs and less innovation that result from Obamacare.
But Obama isn’t the only one visiting; Romney will be here later this week.
While a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won in Pennsylvania since 1988, Chairman Gleason believes that Romney is well within striking distance of Pennsylvania.
And his numbers are on the rise.
A new Quinnipiac poll found that 49 percent of voters disapprove the way the President his doing his job, and when it comes to who will do a better job fixing our economy, voters prefer Mitt Romney 49 to 41.