In a political nail-biter, the GOP finally passed their tax reform bill in the Senate — thanks in large part to a number of late-entrance amendments and lofty promises. But once Vice President Mike Pence provided the tie-breaking vote, the Republican party moved quickly to the next stage: reconciliation.
And that’s when a number of wavering senators learned that the last-minute offers they received in exchange for their votes were about as long-lasting as President Donald Trump’s breaks from Twitter.
It took a variety of sweeteners to finally get skeptical GOP senators on board with the tax reform bill. But the reconciliation process is stripping a number of those amendments out of the final bill, leaving legislators wondering if there was any good faith in the negotiations at all.
Perhaps one of the most frustrated is Maine Senator Susan Collins. In order to get her vote, fellow Republicans included language that would supposedly add money to insurance pools for high-risk insurees still requiring coverage. The assumption was that plan costs would increase dramatically after eliminating the individual mandate requiring all people to have health insurance.
“Collins added two amendments to the legislation that passed the Senate last week, one of which would allow taxpayers to deduct property taxes from their annual federal filings, restoring a provision of the House bill that the Senate took out,” the Hill reported. “Another provision added by Collins would lower the threshold for tax deductions for medical expenses.”
Now, Republican leaders are backtracking on their vow.
“Collins voted for the Senate’s tax reform legislation after Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, promised to support legislation to prop up U.S. health insurance markets,” reports Reuters. “But last week The Hill newspaper reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan told his staff that he wasn’t part of the deal that Collins brokered with Senate…