Sen. Susan Collins called the media sexist in how it covered her support for the tax overhaul bill slated for passage in the Senate Tuesday night.
The Maine Republican was asked by reporters about her support for the bill, including her reaction to GOP House members balking at passing two measures she negotiated that are intended to stabilize the exchanges and lower premiums.
“I believe that the coverage has been unbelievably sexist, and I cannot believe that the press would have treated another senator with 20 years of experience as they have treated me,” she told reporters in the Capitol, according to several reports. “They’ve ignored everything that I’ve gotten and written story after story about how I’m duped. How am I duped when all your amendments get accepted?”
It isn't clear what Collins intended by her statements. An email sent to her office was not immediately returned. According to the Associated Press, Collins cited news coverage that originally noted she didn't cry after meeting with protesters of the tax bill.
Quite a moment just now. We asked Susan Collins about House Republicans vowing not to pass the provisions McConnell promised her to win her tax vote. She stared for several seconds and said she thought the press's coverage of the tax bill has been extremely sexist.— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) December 19, 2017
In a speech on the Senate floor Monday, Collins announced her support of the tax legislation, saying that the bill would create more jobs and allow for higher wages. Collins also said she would have preferred that the bill not include repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate penalties that require Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine.
"I have never supported the individual mandate,” she said. “There is a big difference between fining people who choose people who choose go without health insurance, versus the bills considered last summer and fall that would have taken away insurance coverage from people who have it and want it. Those bills also would have made sweeping cuts in the Medicaid program."
She also touted the Obamacare bills she negotiated to be brought to the floor for passage, which include funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies as well as funding for reinsurance.
Democrats have accused Collins of being duped by assurances from Republican leaders regarding the healthcare provisions, and reports have questioned whether the House would pass the legislation. Conservatives object to the bills because they view them as a bailout for Obamacare. The measures also do not contain language prohibiting the funds from going toward abortions.