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 CollinsSenators ask Biden administration to fund program that helps people pay heating bills McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Republicans are today's Dixiecrats 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 CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report 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 CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas) and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears 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.