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Collins to vote for GOP tax plan

Collins to vote for GOP tax plan
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDems vow swift action on gun reform next year Collins reiterates call for legislation to protect Mueller investigation GOP nerves on edge after Sinema takes lead over McSally 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 CorkerSenate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle Juan Williams: Trump's hostile takeover of the GOP Divided Congress to clash over Space Force, nuclear arsenal 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 backs bill to protect Mueller Senate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle Election Countdown: Florida braces for volatile recount | Counties race to finish machine recount | Trump ramps up attacks | Abrams files new lawsuit in Georgia | 2020 to be new headache for Schumer | Why California counts its ballots so slowly MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyDyslexia is more common than society realizes. Here’s what we can do to help children struggling in the shadows. Congress must protect eye care patients from frightful prescriptions Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' 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 McConnellGraham backs bill to protect Mueller Grassley defends acting AG against calls for recusal Former staffers push Congress for action on sexual harassment measure 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 GOP readies for leadership reshuffle Dem senators want hearing on funding for detained migrant children Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump insists GOP will 'totally' protect people with pre-existing conditions | Landmark opioid bill signed into law | Report finds agencies blindsided by 'zero tolerance' policy MORE (D-Wash.) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderBlackburn keeps Tennessee seat in GOP hands  Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Judge urges insurers to drop challenge over non-ObamaCare plans | Azar vows to push ahead with drug pricing proposal | No increase for ObamaCare outreach budget Dems blast Trump rule changes on ObamaCare 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 NelsonOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — First lady's office pushes for ouster of national security aide | Trump taps retired general as ambassador to Saudis | Mattis to visit border troops | Record number of female veterans to serve in Congress Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February Nelson seeks to push back recount deadlines in latest lawsuit 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.