Se­nate GOP to add re­peal of ACA in­sur­ance man­date into tax bill

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Marcy Gor­don

Se­nate Repub­li­can lead­ers are al­ter- ing their tax bill to in­clude a

of the Af­ford­able Care Act’s in­di­vid­ual man­date, a

change as they now try to ac­com­plish two of their top do­mes­tic pri­or­i­ties in a sin­gle piece of leg­is­la­tion.

Party lead­ers said Tues­day their tax bill will in­clude a pro­vi­sion that would re­peal the in­di­vid­ual man­date, a part of the health care law that cre­ates penal­ties for Amer­i­cans who don’t have health in­sur­ance.

“We’re op­ti­mistic that in­sert­ing the in­di­vid­ual man-

re­peal would be help­ful,” Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., said Tues­day af­ter meet­ing with party mem­bers dur­ing a closed-door lunch.

Repub­li­cans had un­til Tues­day re­sisted the even­tu­ally lead to 13 mil­lion fewer peo­ple hav­ing health in­sur­ance, ac­cord­ing to pro­jec­tions from the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., cha i rman of th e S ena te Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence and a mem­ber of the fi­nance com­mit­tee that is draft­ing the tax bill, said re­peal­ing the in­di­vid­ual man­date will al­low them to fur­ther cut taxes for mid­dle-in­come fam­i­lies.

“It’ll be dis­trib­uted in the form of mid­dle-in­come tax re­lief,” Thune said. “It will give us even more of an op­por­tu­nity to re­ally dis­trib­ute the re­lief to those mid­dle-in­come co­horts who could re­ally ben­e­fit from it.”

But the change could un­nerve less con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can sen­a­tors, who voted against pre­vi­ous Se­nate ef­forts to re­peal large parts of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Repub­li­cans ap­peared to give dif­fer­ing ex­pla­na­tions for what they would do with the ex­tra money gen­er­ated by re­peal­ing the in­di­vid­ual man­date.

McCon­nell, speak­ing later at an event hosted by the Wall Street Jour­nal, said the re­peal would al­low them to en­sure cor­po­rate tax cuts re­main per­ma­nent and also to lower taxes for mid­dle-class fam­i­lies.

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