Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFunding for victims of 'Havana syndrome' to be included in Pentagon bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination MORE (R-Maine) said Monday that she is “optimistic” that the ObamaCare fixes she is pushing for can still pass, despite the deadline for voting on them having “slipped.”
“Our negotiations with the House are going very, very well,” Collins told reporters. “The deadline slipped but the policy is what is important.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats insist budget consensus close as talks drag on Manchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks MORE (R-Ky.) in December gave a commitment to Collins to support the passage of two bills aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare markets and lowering premiums before the end of the year, in exchange for her vote for the tax reform bill.
The end of the year came and went without votes on the two bills, but Collins said Monday she is still “optimistic.”
She said she has spoken twice to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) about the measures, which have encountered strong resistance from House conservatives who fear they are bailing out ObamaCare.
“I've talked twice to the Speaker so I think we're making progress on that,” Collins said.
Collins and Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) say they are hoping for inclusion of the measures in a long-term government funding bill, known as an omnibus, that could get a vote in the coming weeks.
“I think that's going along pretty well,” Alexander said Monday. “I think the objective is that would be part of the omnibus bill.”
The two measures, known as Alexander–Murray and Collins–Nelson, would provide funding aimed at bringing down ObamaCare premiums and stabilizing markets.
Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats try to back Manchin off killing paid family leave proposal Democrats cutting paid leave from spending deal amid Manchin opposition Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending MORE (D-Wash.) and other Democrats, though, are pushing for changes to Alexander–Murray, saying it needs to be reworked now that Republicans have destabilized the markets by repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate.
Democrats say they have not made a proposal to Republicans on specific changes to the bill, yet, however.
And Alexander, for his part, has said he thinks the bills will remain “fundamentally” the same.
Ryan expressed openness to something like the Collins–Nelson bill earlier this month. That measure provides funding known as reinsurance to help pay for the claims of especially sick people and bring down premiums.
“I've talked to Susan Collins and Democrats about this,” Ryan said, adding that there could be a “bipartisan opportunity.”