Collins backs tax bill, but GOP doesn't deliver on Obamacare payment bills she was promised

Sens. Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander announced Wednesday that they will not push for a controversial health care p...

Posted: Dec 20, 2017 9:55 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2017 9:55 PM

Sens. Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander announced Wednesday that they will not push for a controversial health care payment to be included in a short-term spending bill, citing concerns that it could lead to a year-end government funding showdown between the House and Senate.

The move comes just after Senate Republicans passed their much-anticipated tax bill on the Senate floor early Wednesday morning. Collins, who secured several other provisions in that tax bill including a state and local tax deduction, had also gotten assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that she would get a vote on two Obamacare market stabilization bills by the end of the year. The first bill would temporarily restore cost-sharing reduction payments, which help cover the cost of insuring low-income Americans in exchange for market reforms. The other was legislation aimed at stabilizing the Obamacare marketplace in the wake of the fact that Republicans had included a repeal of the individual mandate in their tax bill. The individual mandate requires that Americans have health insurance or face a fine. Without it, health care experts have warned the cost of insurance in the market place could rise.

The move from two GOP senators is aimed at avoiding a government shutdown

Republicans in the House were not expected to accept a deal with health care payments

A fractured GOP unified to pass a landmark tax plan: Here's how it came together

But despite voting for the tax bill, Congress will leave before taking up Obamacare funding.

"Rather than considering a broad year-end funding agreement as we expected, it has become clear that Congress will only be able to pass another short-term extension to prevent a government shutdown and to continue a few essential programs,"-the senators said in a statement.

Collins had real assurances from McConnell that aides say were not given lightly that the health care bills would be delivered by the end of the year, but the politics of the House of Representatives complicated the matter.

McConnell doesn't control the House. In fact,-the majority leader doesn't hold much cache there at all. Members -- and not just the usual conservative suspects -- revealed earlier this week they're exasperated by the number of time they feel like they are forced to back whatever the Senate sends them. And, just because McConnell promised Collins a bill doesn't mean they'll deliver: especially on something that many view as propping up Obamacare, a law they despise.

"That thing put on the floor on its own would fail spectacularly, and we don't owe that kind of concession to them," said Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma. "The speaker made it abundantly clear that while the Senate leadership is fee to make whatever commitments they want in their body, to their members, that does not apply to our body and our members. If we get into that kind of game, I think it will be very destructive."

In her statement, Collins said that House Speaker Paul Ryan called Wednesday "and said that the House remains committed to passing legislation to provide for high-risk pools and other reinsurance mechanisms similar to the bipartisan legislation I have introduced."

"He pointed out that by waiting until early next year, we will be able to use a new (Congressional Budget Office) baseline that will result in more funding being available for reinsurance programs that have been proven effective in lowering premiums while protecting people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis," Collins said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 443562

Reported Deaths: 5918
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin921721468
Ramsey39534730
Dakota32680325
Anoka30733358
Washington19904223
Stearns17728184
St. Louis13503239
Scott1185394
Wright11519102
Olmsted1031671
Sherburne813664
Carver689336
Clay646678
Rice597866
Kandiyohi551571
Blue Earth536333
Crow Wing478173
Otter Tail451362
Chisago447932
Benton416085
Winona384546
Douglas371566
Nobles366346
Mower360127
Goodhue342857
Polk327056
McLeod322244
Morrison309343
Beltrami307446
Lyon299035
Itasca281543
Becker280638
Isanti280640
Carlton278042
Steele27019
Pine264413
Freeborn238720
Todd230529
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Fillmore12135
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Rock109412
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Murray8625
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Stevens6968
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Unassigned49468
Lincoln4811
Big Stone4523
Grant4257
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
Kittson36819
Red Lake3154
Traverse2443
Lake of the Woods1771
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 302245

Reported Deaths: 4203
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45206441
Linn17616270
Scott15300161
Black Hawk13616228
Woodbury12927175
Johnson1198649
Dubuque11275148
Pottawattamie8896112
Dallas879569
Story860433
Webster467269
Cerro Gordo461966
Sioux453151
Clinton447161
Warren436237
Marshall425161
Buena Vista391129
Muscatine384375
Des Moines379140
Plymouth348667
Wapello340097
Jasper317855
Lee312528
Marion300452
Jones269149
Henry262630
Carroll252833
Bremer241648
Crawford227822
Boone215316
Washington213831
Benton207943
Mahaska190636
Jackson190531
Tama185357
Dickinson183526
Delaware171836
Kossuth170141
Clay165519
Wright162324
Fayette159022
Buchanan157820
Hamilton157728
Harrison153862
Hardin153729
Winneshiek153019
Clayton150448
Cedar150019
Butler146123
Page143515
Floyd137436
Cherokee137325
Mills135516
Lyon133332
Poweshiek131424
Hancock128524
Allamakee126327
Iowa122522
Calhoun12189
Grundy119422
Jefferson119123
Winnebago118029
Madison11789
Mitchell115034
Louisa114129
Cass112141
Chickasaw110511
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose109038
Union108122
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Guthrie102124
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Franklin100918
Unassigned9180
Palo Alto9009
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Montgomery84022
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Monroe80418
Clarke7757
Pocahontas77211
Ida73730
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Lucas6458
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Worth5943
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