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Trump advisors send mixed signals on fate of tax bill’s health provision

By in Press Enterprise on November 20, 2017

By The Associated Press

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

WASHINGTON — Two of President Donald Trump’s leading economic advisers sent mixed signals Sunday on the fate of a health care provision in the Senate version of a $1.5 trillion measure to overhaul business and personal income taxes that is expected to be voted on after Thanksgiving.

The provision to repeal a requirement that everyone in the U.S. have insurance has emerged as a major sticking point for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has said that issue should be dealt with separately from the push by Trump and fellow Republicans to overhaul the tax code.
Collins’ vote is crucial in a chamber where Republicans hold a slim 52-48 edge.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has already declared his opposition to the bill, saying last week that it doesn’t cut business taxes enough for partnerships and corporations. GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Rand Paul of Kentucky also have concerns about the bill.

Republicans cannot afford to lose more than two senators on the final vote, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking 51st vote in his capacity as president of the Senate. Democrats are not expected to support the bill, as was the case when the House passed its version last week.

Asked whether the health care provision will be removed to keep Republicans on board, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated that the current plan is to keep the provision in the bill. The provision is not in the House version of the legislation.

“The president thinks we should get rid of it. I think we should get rid of it,” Mnuchin said. “It’s an unfair tax on poor people. To think that you put a penalty on people who can’t afford to buy medical policies, it’s just fundamentally unfair.”

He added: […]    

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