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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 CollinsModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle 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 CorkerFox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 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 GrahamWall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study Biden aide: Ability to collect daily intel in Afghanistan 'will diminish' Leaving Afghanistan: Is it victory or defeat? MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyCalls grow for national paid family leave amid pandemic Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats Vivek Murthy confirmed as surgeon general 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 acknowledges struggle to bring down Biden Pew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Pelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' 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 MurrayHouse passes bill to combat gender pay gap Schumer kicks into reelection mode Democrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act MORE (D-Wash.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality Blunt's retirement deals blow to McConnell inner circle 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 NelsonCuba readies for life without Castro Why does Rep. Johnson oppose NASA's commercial human landing system? Trump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida 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.