Susan Collins is ready to roll on the No Billionaires Left Behind Act, and she’s playing dumb:
Susan Collins believes that the GOP will become a pragmatic, center-right party that supports universal health care — just as soon as she votes for a giant tax cut for the rich that’s financed by sabotaging Obamacare, raising taxes on the poor, and adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit.
Or so the “moderate” Republican senator’s recent statements suggest. Collins famously voted against her party’s Obamacare-repeal bill. And she has said that it was a “mistake” for her party to include a repeal of that law’s individual mandate in its tax-cut legislation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing that mandate will increase the number of Americans without health insurance by 13 million over the next decade, while raising premiums on the individual market by 10 percent.
But Maine’s favorite moderate is willing to swallow that bitter pill — because Mitch McConnell promised that Republicans will appropriate new subsidies and reinsurance funds to stabilize Obamacare, right after Collins votes for the tax bill.
These measures wouldn’t actually make up for the harms caused by repealing the individual mandate. But setting aside the inadequacy of these policies, it’s not clear why Collins is so confident that they will be passed. Is she really certain that the Senate Majority Leader has the power to force House conservatives to vote for more Obamacare spending?
I would normally use my “you are the sucker” title, but I think it’s pretty clear that Collins is the con and Maine voters the mark here:
I’m not sure why Sen. Collins is pretending to fall for this, which makes her look like a sucker, rather than just owning up to not caring. https://t.co/xznjqlLxPP
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) November 30, 2017
Admitting that you don’t give a shit about healthcare cuts if you can get an upper-class tax cut is off-brand for a Moderate Republican (TM) though. Pretend you were unexpectedly double-crossed, and you might be able to fool enough voters to keep your seat if you want to.