Sen. John McCain said Friday he was supportive of the Senate Republican tax bill’s advancement, an encouraging sign for President Trump and GOP leaders hoping that the bill can be passed shortly after Thanksgiving.
At the same time, though, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she doesn’t support the revised bill’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate without other measures to reduce health insurance premiums.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can lose only two Republican votes and still pass tax legislation without Democratic votes. McCain and Murkowski are thought to be two of the Republican votes most in question.
In a statement issued Friday, the Arizona senator issued a statement applauding the Senate Finance Committee for advancing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act late Thursday, calling it “another step forward in providing much-needed tax relief for hard working American families.”
McCain added that he was “pleased” that the bill had advanced through regular order, which he has said would be critical to his support.
Murkowski, though, said she wouldn’t support repealing the individual mandate, as the Senate bill was revised to do, without first passing legislation authored by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, R-Wash., meant to lower premiums on exchange plans.
“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 Alaskan told Roll Call.
Republican leaders were already facing the challenge of assuaging fears about the bill from at least three other GOP senators.