Collins Says She Hasn’t Decided on Tax VoteBy
Concern bill will trigger automatic cuts absent Paygo waiver
Moderate GOP senator has sought commitments on health care
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a key vote on legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code, said she’s confident agreements she sought as part of her support will be kept but hasn’t made a final decision about the measure.
“I always wait until the final version of the bill is brought before us, before I make a final decision on whether or not to support it,” Collins said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “There are major differences between the House and Senate bills, and I don’t know where the bill is going to come out.”
Collins cited a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan that the tax bill wouldn’t generate automatic cuts in Medicare, and said she’s “absolutely confident” it will stand because she has it in writing from both leaders.
The Congressional Budget Office has said the House version of the tax proposal would trigger automatic spending cuts of 4 percent in fiscal 2018 to Medicare, as well as reductions in other programs, if a budget rule known as Paygo, short for pay-as-you-go, isn’t waived.
The moderate Republican also sought a commitment that legislation would be considered regarding cost-sharing payments to bolster the individual health-insurance market. She said she’s had “a lot of conversations” with members of the House and Senate and with President Donald Trump about it.
“I’ve talked to the president three times about this issue, and once again, I have no reason to believe that that commitment will not be kept,” Collins said. “After all, who wants to see health-insurance premiums become more unaffordable than they already are?”
Collins isn’t among the eight Republican Senators named to the conference committee on Dec. 6 by McConnell. The House and Senate negotiators are working to iron out differences in the versions of the bill passed in their respective chambers.