Cotton: Use tax bill to repeal ObamaCare individual mandate

Greg Nash
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is still urging Republicans to use their tax bill to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate, even after the House bill unveiled on Thursday did not include a repeal. 
“I have what I will call maybe a creative idea, a novel idea, but one that I think is gaining momentum in the Senate and in the House. We can repeal the individual mandate of ObamaCare,” Cotton said. 
Cotton’s comments come after House Republicans circulated details of their tax bill. The proposal does not include a repeal of the ObamaCare requirement that individuals buy health insurance or face a fine, according to a summary of the legislation
{mosads}Cotton has been one of the key supporters in the Senate for using the tax bill to nix parts of ObamaCare and has spoken with President Trump and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, about the idea. 
He added on Thursday that he thinks tacking on an individual mandate repeal is a “pretty reasonable proposal” that could help pay for the tax plan. 
But GOP leadership has been wary of linking a fight over health care to taxes over concerns that it could complicate, and potentially sink, one of Republicans’ biggest agenda items. 
Republicans have a particularly narrow path in the Senate to pass a tax plan. With a 52-seat majority, they can only afford to lose two senators, if every Democrat and independent votes “no,” and still have Vice President Pence break a tie. 
But Cotton argued on Thursday that tying the two issues together would actually make it easier to pass a tax bill because it gives them more money to help pay for tax cuts. 
“I know some of my colleagues around here, especially some of my Republican colleagues say, oh no, we can’t go back to health care. It’s going to make a tax bill harder to pass. Nonsense. It makes a tax bill easier to pass … because it helps make the fiscal picture balance and it helps deliver more tax cuts,” he said. 
Repealing the mandate would save about $400 billion which could be used to help pay for tax cuts, but the Congressional Budget Office also says 15 million more people would be uninsured and premiums would rise 20 percent. 

Cotton isn’t the only GOP senator pitching changes as House Republicans prepare to release their tax bill.  

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wants the Senate’s legislation to include a larger increase for the child tax credit, saying the $600 increase in the House bill doesn’t meet his or President’s Trump’s goal “of helping working families.”

Tags Marco Rubio Tom Cotton

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