This week the White House said that they would be willing to remove the Obamacare individual mandate repeal from the GOP tax plan if that were to prevent it from being passed. This comes after Senate GOP leaders attempted to work the repeal into the Senate tax overhaul legislation.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said to CNN, “if we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of the tax bill, and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that’s great. If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can we’re okay with taking it out.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she doesn’t think the partial Obamacare repeal provision should be in the GOP tax bill in a separate interview with CNN. She also pushed the two bipartisan bills currently in the Senate that aim to improve and stabilize the health care markets. However, she defended the tax proposal against Democrats’ criticisms that it unfairly benefits the wealthy, stating that it helps people of all tax brackets. Collins added that she would like to “skew more of that relief to middle- and low-income families.” Senator Collins still has not stated whether or not she’ll vote for the bill.
Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin became the first Republican to declare his opposition to the bill. Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Rand Paul of Kentucky have also expressed concerns about the bill according to CBS News.
According to The Washington Post, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that the mandate repeal is not a “bargaining chip. The president thinks we should get rid of it. I think we should get rid of it.”
The Senate will take their bill to the floor after the Thanksgiving recess.