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 CollinsKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? Kavanaugh fight roils an already ugly political climate 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 CorkerPoll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it Ford opens door to testifying next week Police arrest nearly two dozen Kavanaugh protesters MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGrassley panel scraps Kavanaugh hearing, warns committee will vote without deal Coulter mocks Kavanaugh accuser: She'll only testify 'from a ski lift' Poll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it 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 CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (R-Texas) and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Judiciary Dems say GOP treating Kavanaugh accuser worse than Anita Hill Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh 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.