Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) revealed in an op-ed on Tuesday that she supports a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate in the Republican tax reform legislation.
Murkowski wrote in a local Alaska newspaper, “I have always supported the freedom to choose. 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.”
Sen. Murkowski previously opposed several Obamacare repeal bills: Senate Republican leadership’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the “skinny” repeal of Obamacare, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) clean Obamacare repeal, and the Graham-Cassidy block-grant repeal bill.
A spokesperson for Murkowski recently charged that she has yet to make up her mind regarding the Senate’s tax bill. The Senate will likely vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the week after Thanksgiving.
“Senator Murkowski said on Friday that she will be reviewing the work of the Finance Committee over the Thanksgiving holiday and plans to look at the entire package before coming to any conclusion on the legislation,” the spokesman said.
After failing to repeal Obamacare, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) future rides on passing a tax reform bill. McConnell can only afford to lose two votes in the upper chamber and have Vice President Mike Pence break the tie.
Murkowski also urged Congress to pass the bipartisan Obamacare bailout package sponsored by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). The legislation would fund the cost-sharing reduction payments, which conservatives argued amounts to an insurance bailout, and expands state waivers to amend some Obamacare insurance regulations.
Murkowski wrote, “While I support repealing the individual mandate, I strongly support enacting the bipartisan compromise Alexander/Murray legislation into law as fast as possible to stabilize our markets, provide more control to states and more choices to individuals.”