Susan Collins is swing vote on tax bill

Susan Collins is swing vote on tax bill
© Greg Nash

Undercutting a claim by GOP leaders that they have enough votes to pass tax reform, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals MORE (R-Maine) told reporters Friday that she is still undecided on the legislation.

“I have not made that announcement or that decision,” Collins said when asked if she supports the legislation.

But Collins said she sees a path to getting to yes.

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“We’re making very good progress,” she added.

Collins has significant leverage. 

The GOP needs 50 votes to pass the bill, with Vice President Pence breaking a tie. Forty-nine GOP senators are believed to be on board, but two deficit hawks, Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Congress should take the lead on reworking a successful Iran deal North Korea tensions ease ahead of Winter Olympics MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House Flake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense MORE (R-Ariz.), are withholding their support pending their demand that the overall size of the package be reduced by $350 billion to $400 billion.

Collins, if she gets to yes, would be vote No. 50.  

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Hoyer suggests Dems won't support spending bill without DACA fix MORE (R-Texas) and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKoch groups: Don't renew expired tax breaks in government funding bill Hatch tweets link to 'invisible' glasses after getting spotted removing pair that wasn't there DHS giving ‘active defense’ cyber tools to private sector, secretary says MORE (R-Utah) announced moments before Collins's comments that they had the 50 votes needed to pass tax reform.

“I believe so,” Cornyn said.

Collins has been pressing for a provision that would allow taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes from their tax bills. She also wants passage of two bills aimed at stabilizing health insurance markets, in part because the tax bill would eliminate ObamaCare's individual mandate, which could raise premiums.