Senator Collins Still Undecided on Tax Bill Vote

Republican Senator Susan Collins said on Sunday she was still undecided on whether to back the final tax bill negotiated by Congressional leaders.

Collins, who earlier provided crucial support in passing the Senate tax reform bill, has explained conditions necessary for her to provide support for the final version of the tax measure. Collins demands assurance that federal Medicare payments won’t be cut and that Republicans will back two health care bills aiming to reduce premium costs.

“I‘m going to look at what comes out of the conference committee meeting to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House bill. So I won’t make a final decision until I see what that package is,” she said.

Senator Bob Corker will most likely vote against the bill and in case Collins does so too, Vice President Mike Pence would have the give the deciding vote. However, if more that two Republican Senators vote against the bill, it will fail.

An open meeting of the House-Senate conference will be held on Wednesday, as differences are being reconciled.

Collins supported the Senate tax reform bill after she received assurance by Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that they will back legislation to boost health insurance markets.

However, last week House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly told his staff he was not part of the deal the Republican senator struck with Senate leaders. But, both Ryan and McConnell put in writing that they won’t allow a cut in Medicare payments to come into force.

Collins expressed confidence in the leader’s support, saying “I have read in correspondence that memorializes the agreement that the 4 percent cut in Medicare that could go into effect will not go into effect.”

Collins added that she also has the president’s support, and thus has “no reason to believe that that commitment will not be kept.”

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