Collins to vote for GOP tax plan

Collins to vote for GOP tax plan
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Pompeo creates 'action group' for Iran policy | Trump escalates intel feud | Report pegs military parade cost at M Hillicon Valley: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sits down with The Hill | Drama over naming DHS cyber office | Fallout over revoking Brennan's security clearance | Google workers protest censored search engine for China Trump escalates feud with intelligence officials MORE (Maine) said on Friday that she will support the Senate tax plan, giving the legislation an additional shot of momentum.

"I will cast my vote in support of the Senate tax reform bill. As revised, this bill will provide much-needed tax relief and simplification for lower- and middle-income families, while spurring the creation of good jobs and greater economic growth," Collins said in a statement.

That means the Senate GOP tax plan, which leadership wants to pass as early as Friday, now has the support of 51 Republican senators. Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerVoters will punish Congress for ignoring duty on war and peace GOP senator reviving effort to rein in Trump on tariffs Trump draws bipartisan fire over Brennan MORE (R-Tenn.), who has concerns about the deficit, is the only remaining holdout.

Several amendments that Collins offered were incorporated into the bill, including the restoration of a $10,000 deduction for property taxes and a lower threshold for deducting medical expenses.

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Collins touted the ability for her to get changes into the bill as crucial to her decision to ultimately be able to support it.

"Over the past several weeks, I have worked to ensure that the Senate bill includes a number of important changes," she said.

Her decision is a reversal from her position on repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

Collins opposed each of the three repeal-and-replace proposals in July, as well as a separate bill from GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Flynn should lose security clearance Press needs to restore its credibility on FBI and Justice Department Trump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyEnergy Department clears ‘small-scale’ natural gas exports for fast approval GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave MORE (La.) in September.

Collins had voiced concerns about a provision in the tax plan that would repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said earlier this month that repealing the individual mandate would result in an additional 13 million people becoming uninsured by 2027.

But Collins reiterated on Friday that she has gotten a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain Name change eludes DHS cyber wing, spurring frustration MORE (R-Ky.) to include two health-care bills meant to address the impact of the mandate repeal in must-pass legislation this year.

"I am very pleased the Majority Leader committed to support passage of two important pieces of legislation before the end of the year to mitigate these increases," she said.

One bill, from Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Senate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press MORE (D-Wash.) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGovernor's race grabs spotlight in Tennessee primaries A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs MORE (R-Tenn.), would provide two years of ObamaCare's cost-sharing reduction payments. The second bill, spearheaded by Collins and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints GOP looks to injure Nelson over Russia comments Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE (D-Fla.), would provide funding for "reinsurance" programs aimed at bringing down premiums.

But CBO Director Keith Hall said in a letter sent to Murray on Wednesday that her legislation with Alexander would do little to make up for premium increases or coverage losses if the mandate is repealed.