November 15, 2017; Washington Post
After Republican senators tweaked their own tax package on Tuesday night, both Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said they would not vote for the GOP tax measure. Their objections differed; Collins objects to recently included language that would repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, while Johnson objects to both the Senate and House proposals because he believes they benefit corporations at the expense of smaller companies.
Senate leaders…changed their bill to make tax cuts for corporations permanent, but let individual tax cuts sunset at the end of 2025. The expiration would also affect small businesses whose owners use tax law to pay some of their income at the individual rate, a change Johnson said would unfairly penalize small businesses.
Neither objection lends itself to a fix that can likely be made without losing other votes. These two defections would necessitate nailing down every other GOP vote to pass the measure in the Senate. But Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) both still decline to say if they will support the bill as it stands—again, for different reasons.
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But if this all sounds a little familiar to you, readers may recall this moment from July:
Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the Republicans who cast the deciding votes against the so-called “skinny” version of a bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Collins and Murkowski were expected to oppose the bill, but suspense hung over the Senate floor early Friday morning as McCain held a 20-minute conversation with Vice President Mike Pence and hung out with Democrats on the Senate floor. While the GOP murmured “trust us” to some recalcitrant senators, promising that the House would not pass it anyway, the president was tweeting “Go Republican Senators, Go!” and health insurance coverage for an estimated 16 million Americans hung in the balance. In the end, however, the no votes came from exactly where it could have been predicted they would.
Still, if you believe that miracles repeat themselves easily and without the need for you to participate, you are living in…well, a fool’s paradise. In the real world, now is the time to communicate with your congressional representatives.—Ruth McCambridge