Collins to vote for GOP tax plan

Collins to vote for GOP tax plan
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights 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 CorkerJeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump Corker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' 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 GrahamThreat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Graham urges Trump not to abandon infrastructure talks with Democrats Congress, White House near deal on spending, debt limit MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidySenate passes bill to undo tax increase on Gold Star military families Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Chances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight 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 MurraySenate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills MORE (D-Wash.) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderCollins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday It's time for Republicans to lead (again) on climate 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 NelsonRepublicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment Rubio says hackers penetrated Florida elections systems 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.