Tags: Trump Administration | Trump Tax Reform | obamacare | individual mandate | repeal | senate | tax bill

Senate GOP Weighing Obamacare Mandate Repeal in Tax Bill

Image: Senate GOP Weighing Obamacare Mandate Repeal in Tax Bill
Sen. John Thune (Reuters)

Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017 02:31 PM

Senate tax writers are considering including the repeal of the individual mandate imposed by the Obamacare law into the revised tax proposal set to be released later Tuesday, according to Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas.

“It’s been a subject of discussion,” said Thune, the chamber’s third-ranking Republican leader and a member of the Finance Committee.

The Senate GOP conference will discuss adding the repeal of the mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance to the tax proposal during lunch Tuesday, said Cornyn, also a member of the Finance panel. The Finance Committee discussed the potential inclusion on Monday evening and now wants the full conference to approve the move, said Cornyn.

Including the repeal would allow the bill to become “as pro growth as possible” and ensure cuts are permanent instead of temporary, he said.

Reopening the politically painful Obamacare debate could cost the GOP crucial votes on a tax bill. A “skinny” repeal of Obamacare that scrapped the individual mandate failed in July to pass the Senate after defection by three Republicans -- Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John McCain of Arizona.

Collins reiterated on Monday evening that she doesn’t like the idea. “I think it’s a mistake to combine them because I think we’ll get no Democratic votes and I’d like this to be bipartisan,” she told reporters.

Republican senators Tim Scott of South Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, members of the Finance Committee, said they would support including the repeal in tax legislation.

Senator Rand Paul also said he’ll push to amend the Senate tax bill to include repeal of the mandate.

“The mandate repeal is a promise we all made and we should keep. It also allows an additional $300 billion+ in tax cuts,” the Kentucky Republican said on Twitter. The savings would come from reductions in government spending on health-coverage subsidies for an estimated 13 million Americans in 2027.

Paul said he plans to change the bill to “provide bigger tax cuts for middle income taxpayers.”

Republican leaders aren’t taking Paul’s vote for granted, particularly after he scuttled a last-ditch effort in September to repeal Obamacare, complaining that it didn’t go far enough in slashing the health-care law.

President Donald Trump has called for repealing the mandate as part of tax legislation, but hasn’t demanded it. House leaders considered adding the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate to their bill before ultimately keeping it out of the legislation.

The Republican Study Committee, a group of 160 conservative members, is drafting an amendment that would add the repeal of the individual mandate to the House bill before the floor vote expected for Thursday, according to a lawmaker and an aide who have been briefed on the plan.

The RSC amendment doesn’t include a specific proposal for what to do with the savings, the aide said.

Mark Meadows, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, signed on as a co-sponsor of the amendment, said Ben Williamson, a spokesman for Meadows. 

The Rules Committee is scheduled to consider the tax legislation on Wednesday. It can choose in consultation with GOP leaders whether to take up any amendments.

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Senate tax writers are considering including the repeal of the individual mandate imposed by the Obamacare law into the revised tax proposal set to be released later Tuesday, according to Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas.
obamacare, individual mandate, repeal, senate, tax bill
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2017-31-14
Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017 02:31 PM
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