AUGUSTA, Maine — Republicans in the U.S. Senate pushed forward their tax proposal in a party-line procedural vote Wednesday with Sen. Susan Collins’ support, but she’s not saying how she’ll vote ahead of a set of votes expected Thursday.
The moderate Maine Republican told reporters Wednesday she’s going to float a series of amendments to the bill, but it’s unclear how their fate will affect her final, key vote on the measure. Here’s where she stands going into Thursday.
She brushed aside concerns about the package’s changes to health care policy on Wednesday. The Senate Republican bill would repeal the “individual mandate” in the Affordable Care Act that makes Americans buy health insurance or face penalty. Collins has been wary of that, but President Donald Trump reportedly assured her he would back two bipartisan bills aimed at stabilizing the health care law if the tax plan passes.
However, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that one of those bills — which would resume cost-sharing reduction payments that Trump has stopped — wouldn’t offset the negative impacts of scrapping the mandate.
But Collins told reporters the CBO assumes that those payments will be made and they aren’t now, so the finding “truly makes no sense whatsoever.”
But she has also outlined a series of amendments that she wants in the final bill by tonight. On Wednesday, Collins took reporters through a list of amendments she’s backing, according to a transcript provided by the senator’s office.
It includes restoring the state and local tax deduction and protecting a medical expense deduction that is a priority of the AARP. But when asked if all those those needed to pass to get her vote, she demurred.
“We are doing this one step at a time,” Collins said. “Some of these are higher priorities than others.”
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