Congressional Republicans have ignored Trump's demands that they attach a partial repeal of Obamacare to their tax cut bill, but can they ignore a senator whose vote may be pivotal to passing a bill?
Senator Rand, son of Ron, has returned to Congress after getting beaten up by one of his neighbors and he's calling for an amendment to repeal the individual mandate. And that's not the only consequential thing he's calling for.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday said he will seek changes to the Senate’s tax cut bill to add a provision to repeal Obamacare’s requirement that Americans pay a penalty if they do not obtain health insurance as well as scale back its elimination of a federal deduction for state and local taxes. [...]
Those changes would “help ensure House acceptance of the Senate plan ... and help ensure House and Senate plans agree,” Paul wrote.
The last time Rand Paul started making demands, their bill to repeal Obamacare failed.
That doesn't necessarily mean the tax cut bill is going to fail, but Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes before a third defection kills it dead.
Attaching repeal of the individual mandate to the bill would probably cost them at least one or two votes and preserving state and local tax deductions would put the bill over budget. There simply isn't a lot of room to maneuver in when your process demands ramming the bill through with a minimal number votes and your budget resolution only allows for $1.5 trillion in deficit spending.
Senate Republicans are expected to release an updated version of their bill soon and we'll find out if they're going to shoot themselves in the foot again.