Susan Collins

White House Broke Promise to Collins

“President Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, stood just off the Senate floor as Republicans cast a party-line vote on Trump’s tax package late last year, but his moment of triumph was brief. As she walked off the floor, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins spotted Short — and she exploded,” Politico reports.

“The White House had promised Collins, a moderate, that it would seek a vote before recess on guaranteeing payments to health insurers in order to stabilize Obamacare markets, a key issue for her. But under intense opposition from pro-life groups and from House conservatives, no such vote materialized. Collins berated Short for reneging on the deal and then walked off after Short tried to explain.”

Collins Still Reviewing Tax Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is still reviewing the tax bill, her spokeswoman said, suggesting she hasn’t yet reached a decision on how to vote, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“She has come under pressure from some groups in Maine to vote against the tax bill, in part because it repeals a mandate that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty, a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act.”

James Hohmann: “The health insurance market is almost certain to implode next year, and rates are likely to skyrocket for many, because of the repeal of the individual mandate. By getting rid of the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act in this bill, Republicans are giving up any standing they had to blame Barack Obama for the health-care mess. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this change alone will lead to 13 million more uninsured Americans a decade from now.”

Collins Is Undecided on Final Tax Bill Vote

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said  she “has not yet decided whether she will back the final measure negotiated by House and Senate leaders,” Reuters reports.

“Collins’ vote was important since the Senate approved the bill by 51-49 vote after an 11th-hour scramble. With Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) voting against the bill, there is little margin for losing support.”

“If Collins and Corker vote against the final tax bill, leading to a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the winning vote. But if more than two Republican senators vote no, it would fail.”

Susan Collins ‘Got Rolled’

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) wouldn’t say whether she’ll support the final tax package in the absence of guaranteed passage of the health-care bills, Bloomberg reports.

“Collins’s promise came from Senate Majority Mitch McConnell — who can’t always deliver a vote in his own chamber, let alone the one across the capitol. It’s by no means clear that either of the health care bills Collins bargained for will get anywhere in the House, where conservatives regard at least one of the measures with disdain.”

Said Democratic lobbyist Jim Manley: “She got rolled. Despite the fact that she’s a veteran legislator, as far as I’m concerned she got rolled here. The promises she extracted from the Senate leadership aren’t worth the piece of paper they’re written on.”

Collins Lays Out Her Demands for Tax Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told Bloomberg that “she’s opposed to two tax breaks for the wealthy that her party leaders are pushing for, indicating that her vote won’t be easy to win on President Trump’s top legislative priority.”

Said Collins: “I do not believe that the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year. I don’t think there’s any need to eliminate the estate tax.”

Will Collins Leave the Senate?

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) “will announce at a local Chamber of Commerce event on Friday whether she will run for governor — a decision that remains shrouded in secrecy and could upend the Senate political landscape,” Politico reports.

“The influential moderate plans to make the announcement during a speech she’s giving on health care in Rockport, Maine… The speech is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.”

Making the announcement at a preexisting and relatively small event would suggest she’s not launching a new campaign.

Collins Will Announce Plans on Running for Governor

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will announce Friday morning whether she will run for governor of Maine in 2018, CNN reports.

“Collins, among the most moderate GOP senators, has been a thorn in President Donald Trump’s side… But were she elected, her departure from the Senate would be a sharp blow to Republicans because without Collins, the seat would become much more difficult to keep out of Democratic hands in 2020.”

Collins Will Not Support GOP Health Care Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that she would oppose the latest plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, leaving Republican leaders clearly short of the votes they need for passage, the New York Times reports.

Said Collins: “Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy. Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target.”

She added: “Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations. The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem.”

Collins Could Face Fight If She Runs for Governor

“Collins has been named the most moderate U.S. senator and has irked conservatives before. If she stays in the Senate through her term’s end in early 2021, this may be little more than a flashpoint, since she regularly registers approval ratings above 65 percent here. But if she runs for governor in 2018, several active Republicans told the Bangor Daily News that they would expect a tough primary fight.”

Quote of the Day

“There was only one issue. That’s unusual. It’s usually a wide range of issues. I heard, over and over again, encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and House health-care bills. People were thanking me, over and over again. ‘Thank you, Susan!’ ‘Stay strong, Susan!'”

— Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), quoted by the Washington Post.