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Associated Press, Published June 04 2012

Minn. Democrats in bind over medical device tax

ST. PAUL — Democrats in Minnesota's congressional delegation are in a bind over a bill by Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen to eliminate a tax on medical devices like those made by Medtronic and other Minnesota companies.

The Democrats are under pressure to choose whether to support a key Minnesota industry or to support the federal health care overhaul. The tax on devices like pacemakers provides $29 billion over the next decade.

Paulsen says the tax endangers 35,000 jobs in Minnesota and thousands more elsewhere. His bill to repeal it has 240 co-sponsors, including 11 Democrats.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken support repeal.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz tells Minnesota Public Radio he's sensitive to the industry, but considers the tax a key funding mechanism for the health plan.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.