Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives struck a deal on a tax package Wednesday, and while Sen. Susan Collins hasn’t yet seen a printed bill a spokeswoman said Thursday she’s confident the changes she has pushed are included.
Collins voted for the Senate bill after three amendments were included, and she thinks they’ll be in the final bill. The Republican senator got three amendments into the Senate bill — allowing taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, reducing a medical expense deduction threshold and allowing public and nonprofit employees to keep making catch-up contributions to retirement accounts.
Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark said Thursday that while the senator hasn’t seen a final version of the House and Senate bill to be voted on next week, but she’s “confident” her proposals are in the new bill, possibly with some improvements around the property tax provision.
But there’s a question of timing on the proposal. The tax bill will still repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and it’s still unclear whether Collins will be able to pass two separate health care changes that could offset the impact on premiums.
Despite a promise from President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass them, House conservatives have been cool to them, with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, holding off on supporting them publicly, at least for now.
Collins told The Hill in November that her expectation was that the spending bill that would hold the offsetting changes would pass before the final tax bill, but it’s looking as though the tax vote will come Tuesday, before the spending bill. However, Clark on Thursday said her boss should have a good idea of what’s in the spending package by the tax vote.
Collins was also protested in Washington, D.C., and at home on Wednesday. Whatever happens over the next few days, Collins will be facing progressive opposition.
WMTW reported that her Biddeford office was locked Wednesday as protesters urged her to vote against the final bills. Several activists — including 2017 Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour and Mainers for Accountable Leadership founder Marie Follayttar Smith — met with her in Washington.
Collins told them she won’t support the bill if promises to her aren’t kept by leaders. But she’s not saying how she’ll vote on it yet, though the fate of her changes may hold the key.
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