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Sen. Susan Collins could be key swing vote on tax bill
A vote on the GOP's final, post-reconciliation is upcoming, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) will not commit to voting for it until she sees specifically what it contains.
By Rick Docksai
Contributor
Jan 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Sen. Collins (R-Maine) voted for the GOP's tax bill when it came up for a vote in the Senate, but she said Sunday that she has not yet decided how she will vote on the final reconciled version. Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," Collins said that the bill she voted for is different from the one that the House approved and that she wants to see how the final version bridges these discrepancies.

"There are major differences between the House and Senate bills, and I don't know where the bill is going to come out," the Maine Republican said.

Collins backed the bill's Senate version after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured her that he would hold votes on bipartisan bills to address rising premiums in the insurance markets. She requested action on these bills in order to mitigate the impacts of the tax bill's repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate. The Congressional Budget Office had warmed that repealing the mandate would result in as many as 13 million currently insured Americans dropping their plans, which would lead to massive premium increases for those still on the plans.

Collins additionally sought promises from her GOP colleagues that the tax bill won't trigger automatic cuts to Medicare. She said Sunday that McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan both promised her that Medicare cuts will not automatically go into effect.

House conservatives panned the deal on health-insurance premiums and said they were never a part of it, however. Some critics consequently suggested that Collins fell for a "bait and switch" and that the deal will not hold.

The bill passed the Senate 51-49, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) the only Republican voting no. If Collins votes no on the final version and one more Republican joins her, the bill cannot pass.