Senate Republicans plan to pass their tax overhaul on Thursday or Friday. Any three Republicans could upset these plans, and six — Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Ron Johnson (Wis.), and Steve Daines (Mont.) — are publicly on the fence. Those senators mostly want different things, and "together, the requests put Republican leaders in a difficult position, as they attempt to accommodate individual holdouts on a one-off basis without losing other members or creating a situation in which the bill collapses under the weight of disparate demands," The Washington Post reports.
Collins, who "has constituents who love it when she bucks the party line," Axios notes, wants Senate leaders to drop a provision axing ObamaCare's individual mandate but says she is open to first passing legislation to "mitigate the impact of those provisions." She is considered persuadable, as are Johnson and Daines, who complain that the bill favors corporations over "pass-through" businesses. McCain, Corker, and Flake "are a) worried about the deficit, (b) wholly unbeholden to leadership, and (c) relish the opportunity to snub President Trump," says Jonathan Swan at Axios, and they "aren't likely to face voters again."
Still, Swan says, "even my most pessimistic sources tell me they think the political urgency to get something done will override the concerns of the holdouts." Brian McGuire, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), tells Politico: "The strongest force behind this bill, the one that will make the biggest difference in the end, is the political imperative for Republicans to pass it." Most GOP senators don't mind that it polls terribly — 52 percent of Republicans oppose it in a recent Quinnipiac poll — because, as a senior administration official tells Swan, they "can't go into election next year with 'accomplishments' only being: Kept ObamaCare, fixed DACA, raised debt ceiling, increased spending via a partially paid-for sequestration budget cap deal."