With Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska making it clear that she is a no vote, the Republican tax cuts for the rich are at risk of dying in the Senate.
Roll Call reported that Murkowski is a no on the tax cuts unless the Obamacare market is stabilized first:
Murkowski believes legislation from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the panel’s top Democrat, is necessary before the mandate — which supporters of the law say is a critical foundation for the current insurance markets — is repealed.
“I think that there is a path and I think the path is a reasonable path,” the Alaska Republican said of her support for the measure. “If the Congress is going to move forward with repeal of the individual mandate, we absolutely must have the Alexander-Murray piece that is passed into law.”
The odds of Republicans agreeing to stabilize the markets before passing the tax cut bill are close to zero, so there is a strong possibility that Murkowski ends up being a no vote.
Senator Ron Johnson said that he is a no on the bill for now, and adding the repeal of the individual mandate has triggered concerns from Sen. Susan Collins. Attaching any form of Obamacare repeal to the tax cut bill might be the fatal mistake that results in Republicans getting nothing. All of those votes could still flip to yes, but there is a long road ahead of Republicans before they get the votes needed to pass the tax cut bill.
If Democrat Doug Jones wins the Alabama Senate special election, Republicans can only afford to suffer two defections before the bill goes down to defeat. Ignore the blustering and celebrating from House Republicans and the White House, the tax cuts for the rich are not a done deal.
The best way to make sure that the bill goes down to defeat is to help Doug Jones win in Alabama while pressuring moderate Republicans who are concerned about repealing the individual mandate.
UPDATE: Sen. Murkowski’s office reached out to PoliticusUSA, and wanted to clarify that the Senator’s vote isn’t contingent on the stabilization of ACA markets, but that she is still doing her homework and vetting the tax bill.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
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Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association