The odds still very much favor the passage of the Republican tax bill, but there are questions about one of the Senate’s pivotal votes.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has concerns about the bill’s elimination of the Obamacare insurance mandate, and voted ‘yes’ only after receiving assurances from both senior senators and President Trump that separate legislation would provide stabilization for the Obamacare markets. But some House Republicans made it clear this week that they would oppose any effort to intervene in the Obamacare markets as Collins had hoped. Collins said Thursday that she would wait to see the final bill until she made up her mind, suggesting she could flip her vote if her concerns are not addressed.
Losing Collins’ vote wouldn’t be the end of the world for Republicans, since they have a one-vote margin in the Senate, assuming Bob Corker remains a ‘no.’ But another senator was showing signs of wavering Friday: Sen. Marco Rubio said he has concerns about the child tax credit, and there are "going to be problems" if the bill fails to provide a sufficiently generous tax break for families.
While it’s doubtful that Rubio would vote against the bill, his comments are a good reminder that Republicans still have significant work to do on the final bill, and though the path is clear, it is narrow.