Senate Republicans now appear to have enough votes to pass their major tax system overhaul bill.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced her support for the controversial bill on the Senate floor on Monday.
“I rise to express my support for the conference agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act … This legislation will provide tax relief to working families, encourage the creation of jobs right here in America and spur economic growth that will benefit all Americans,” Collins said.
Collins agreed to back the bill after amendments she requested were included and Republican leadership promised to stabilize Obamacare’s individual healthcare marketplace. Among the amendments that Collins secured in the bill was the restoration of a $10,000 tax deduction for state and local property taxes, as well as an amendment to lower the threshold for medical expense deductions.
Collins’ support for the bill is crucial to Republicans, who only hold a narrow majority in the Senate and cannot afford to lose more than two votes if they wish to pass the bill with all Democrats voting against it.
Analyses show that the GOP tax bill would add at least $1 trillion to the national debt, and two governmental bodies found that the bill significantly benefits the rich more than the middle class in both the short and long term.
Senator John McCain, who is fighting brain cancer will likely miss the vote as he returned to Arizona, while the state’s junior Senator, Jeff Flake — who supported the Senate version of the bill — hasn’t said if he will back the conference version. Senators who had withheld their support during the vote on the Senate’s version of the bill —Bob Corker of Tennessee, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah — said they planned to support the final bill as well.