I can tell you, medical device jobs are one of those kinds of jobs. In order to assure that our country leads a world leader in medical device innovation, we have to address the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices.
As you know, Mr. President, this came out through the Affordable Care Act. At the time, I opposed that tax. We negotiated and were able to get it halved from $40 billion to $20 billion in ten years, but it still isn't right because it creates too much of a burden.
Medical device manufacturers are not the ones that are going to get multiple new customers, millions of new customers out of increased coverage in the health care bill. Pharmaceuticals might, they negotiated something. But think about it. A lot of medical devices are used by people who are older. They tend to have health care coverage with Medicare and other things.
And so that is the issue here, is that this is not at the right rate, this is not the right tax and it should be repealed. The tax is a burden on medical device businesses but, most importantly, it is a disincentive for jobs. It stifles innovation and it makes it more difficult for the next generation of lifesaving devices to make it to the market.
I've been fighting to reduce it, to repeal it, to delay it since the first day it was introduced. And at the end of last year, I rallied a record number of democratic senators behind the effort. While we got an agreement -- while we couldn't get an agreement included in the fiscal cliff negotiation, we got great traction. I think there were 18, 19 democratic senators in addition to the strong support -- I see Senator Coats over there from Indiana, the strong support we've had on the republican side for repealing this tax. This is why Senator Hatch and I have filed an amendment to the budget resolution to repeal this tax and help give these businesses and their employees the certainty and stability that they need to keep researching, developing and inventing the next medical breakthrough. Our amendment now has the support of 28 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and I'm hoping we can continue to work in a bipartisan way.