McCain: 'I have decided to support the Senate Tax Reform bill'

Tuesday there were some clear signs the tax bill was gaining some momentum in the Senate after President Trump met with GOP lawmakers and got at least two shaky members on board. Today, another step forward as John McCain announces he will vote for the bill.

McCain released a full statement on his website which reads in part:

For too long, hardworking people in Arizona and around the country have not seen a raise in their paychecks. This bill would directly benefit all Americans, allowing them to keep a higher percentage of what they earn. According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, every income bracket would see tax relief under this bill. The child tax credit would be doubled to $2,000 per child and the tax code would be substantially simplified.

By lowering our high corporate tax rate to 20 percent, the bill would make our markets far more attractive for investment. It would also encourage American companies to repatriate assets now held overseas. Small businesses, which are vitally important to the dynamism of our economy, would also receive essential tax relief. Combined, these commonsense steps would promote economic growth and stimulate job creation here at home.

As I mentioned Tuesday, Sen. Collins is still holding out for some substantial changes on the tax side of the bill. The Associated Press reports that hasn’t changed:

“I have a lot of concerns that I’m trying to fix,” Collins told reporters Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

Collins opposes the bill’s total elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes, and said it would be “very problematic for me” to vote for the bill.

The moderate Republican wants an exception to let homeowners deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, similar to a provision in the House version of the tax bill. She would make up the estimated $146 billion in lost revenue by keeping the personal income tax rate for the wealthiest earners at 39.6 percent and making a smaller cut in the corporate tax rate.

However, Collins is also concerned about the Individual Mandate repeal that is part of the tax bill. She hasn’t ruled out voting for it but she is asking that two other bills be passed before she will agree to vote for the mandate repeal. The first, known as Alexander-Murray would restore funding for cost-sharing payments (which Trump cut off a couple months ago). The second bill would create a reinsurance program. Collins seems to be saying her vote will depend on both of those bills being passed first. From the Hill:

“I have met with the president of the United States about this and have gotten his endorsement, I’ve met with the Republican leadership and with the members of the Finance Committee,” she said. “They are most likely to be on the continuing resolution.”

“Assuming the tax bill passes the Senate, we then turn to the CR and those two bills will be put on the CR,” she said.

“While the tax bill is in conference, the CR will presumably become law and then the tax bill come back from conference,” she said. “So I’m going to know whether those provisions made it and that matters hugely to me.”

So Collins is a definite maybe, but with Murkowski and McCain on board, at least two of the three amigos have decided not to scuttle this effort. Mitch McConnell delayed the vote yesterday and now tells the AP, “We’re heading down the homestretch.” He says he plans to hold a vote late Thursday or Friday.

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