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Wednesday
Nov222017

Sen. Lisa Murkowski backs Obamacare individual mandate repeal 

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she supports repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, a key provision in the Senate Republican tax bill, but she refrained from offering a full endorsement of the tax package.

"I believe that the federal government should not force anyone to buy something they do not wish to buy in order to avoid being taxed," Murkowski wrote in an op-ed for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “That is the fundamental reason why I opposed the Affordable Care Act from its inception and also why I co-sponsored a bill to repeal the individual mandate tax penalty starting as early as 2013. And that is why I support the repeal of that tax."

Murkowski, who was one of three GOP senators to vote against a partial repeal of Obamacare this summer, notably did not say whether she would vote for the Republican tax plan the Senate will consider after Thanksgiving break.

Murkowski is among a number of Republican holdouts on the tax plan. If all Democrats oppose the measure, Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes.

On Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that she wants to see revisions to the plan.

"I want to see changes in that bill, and I think there will be changes," Collins, who opposes the individual mandate repeal, said on ABC News' "This Week".

Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., announced his opposition to the Senate tax plan, saying it favors corporations over pass-through businesses. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; and John McCain, R-Ariz., have also voiced concerns about the measure.

The House passed a $1.5 trillion tax plan that decreased the number of tax brackets and cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. The Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill similar to the House plan out of committee last week, but the Senate measure includes a repeal of the individual mandate.

If the Senate passes a tax package, the bill would be reconciled with the measure passed by the House. President Trump has said he wants to sign a tax bill by Christmas.

"We're going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas -- hopefully that will be a great, big, beautiful Christmas present,” Trump said Monday.

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