Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., proposed the amendment to repeal a sales tax on medical devices. (AP photo/Lawrence Jackson)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It isn’t every day that more than half the Democrats in the U.S. Senate vote to repeal part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

That’s what happened Thursday night when the Senate voted 79-20 to repeal a 2.3 percent sales tax on medical devices such as catheters, pacemakers and MRI machines.

Thirty-three Democrats joined all 45 Republicans voting for an amendment by GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Maine Independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted for repeal.

Republicans hope the nonbinding vote signals a new willingness by Democrats to defy unpopular provisions of the health care reform law.

But repealing the tax is far from a done deal, despite an all-out push by industry.

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