Collins Demands Two Bills To Balance Out Tax Bill's Mandate Repeal Damage

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-The White House says it's willing to strike a health-care provision from Senate legislation to cut taxes and overhaul the tax code if the provision becomes an impediment to passing one of President Trump's top legislative priorities. "I think we should get rid of it", Mnuchin said.

Mulvaney's comments came as party leaders race to try to get a tax bill to Trump's desk by year's end.

Some Republican senators have expressed concern about the plan.

"I haven't reached that conclusion yet because I think there are going to be further changes", Collins said.

"This is all about getting this passed in the Senate, that's the objective". Senator Collins said Sunday that the issue should be dealt with separately.

"The president thinks we should get rid of it". "This isn't a bargaining chip". He noted that the House bill does not include the mandate repeal.

Other Senate Republicans have begun to rally around the idea of pairing the tax bill with the Alexander-Murray Obamacare stabilization bill, an attempt to balance out the blow to the individual market of repealing the individual mandate. Including a repeal of the provision in the Senate bill gives GOP leaders more revenue to work with.

Three Republican defections likely would kill the legislation given that the upper chamber's 46 Democrats and two independent members are nearly certain to oppose the bill. They would face higher insurance premiums coupled with the loss of federal subsidies to help them afford the cost of insurance, she said.

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Senate Republicans must be especially mindful of budget math since they are trying to pass the bill through a process known "reconciliation", which requires only a simple majority vote.

On Sunday, Collins said including the repeal provision is "the biggest mistake" in the Senate bill.

Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) of Wisconsin became the first Republican to declare opposition, saying the plan wouldn't cut business taxes enough for partnerships and corporations. If the Senate passes its legislation, it would have to work out its differences with the House version. So if no Democrats vote for the bill, Republicans can afford only two "no" votes in their ranks, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie.

Mulvaney and Collins were interviewed on CNN's "State of the Union". "We absolutely want to do it", Mulvaney said.

Collins has also said she would favor cutting back the size of the corporate tax cut so that the rate would fall from 35 percent to 22 percent, instead of the 20 percent in the current House and Senate bill.

Critics are also anxious that both the Senate and House plans would drive up the federal budget deficit, despite assertions from the White House and many lawmakers that they would pay for themselves over time by increasing economic growth.

Some independent studies dispute that, prompting critics of the tax plans to say they'll soon spur urgent calls for spending cuts. The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation, a Washington policy group, said earlier month that the House's tax bill would cost $1.98 trillion over a decade compared with current law.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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