Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, sat down with "Face the Nation" Sunday. We got her take on -- among other things -- the status of her party's tax bill, and the Alabama Senate race and the broader conversation about sexual misconduct.
What follows is a transcript of the interview, which aired Sunday, December 10, 2017, on "Face the Nation."
JOHN DICKERSON: And we want to turn now to Maine's Republican Senator Susan Collins. Welcome, Senator. We have some important tax business to get to. But I want to stay with this question of the revolution that's going on in the way that sexual assault is being dealt with. This week, the Republican National Committee supported Roy Moore. You do not support him. You say you believe his accusers.
Your colleague, Republican Ben Sasse, wrote this: "I believe the women. And the RNC previously did, too. What's changed? Or is the party just indifferent?" You're a Republican. What do you think about the RNC supporting Roy Moore?
SUSAN COLLINS: I'm disappointed that the RNC has resumed its support of Roy Moore. I think that's a mistake. I would point out that I did not support Mr. Moore even prior to these allegations of sexual misconduct because I was concerned about his anti-Muslim comments, his anti-LGBT comments, and also, most important of all, he'd been removed twice from the Alabama Supreme Court for failure to follow lawful judicial orders.
JOHN DICKERSON: You also, with the news about Al Franken this week, you called for him to resign. Are you closer to the Democratic Party on these issues than you are the Republican Party?
SUSAN COLLINS: I think Republicans care just as much as Democrats about sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. There's a new awakening in our country that this is pervasive, whether we're talking about Hollywood or Wall Street or the media, or Capitol Hill. And that's why I'm joining a bipartisan group of senators who are trying to look at our own procedures on Capitol Hill to assure that allegations of sexual misconduct involving members or staff are dealt with seriously.
JOHN DICKERSON: Last question on this before taxes, on the question of procedures, the Senate might have a decision to make with Roy Moore if he's elected. Here's something I'm trying to work through. With the president, there were these accusations. They were adjudicated in the election, the White House says. So the voters knew about them and they voted for him, and now he's president. Why wouldn't that same standard apply to Roy Moore? The voters of Alabama know exactly what has been alleged. If he gets elected, what business does the Senate have telling the voters they're wrong?
SUSAN COLLINS: Well, I think that's the tough question. If the allegations are known prior to the election, which they weren't in the case of Al Franken, for example, then we have a very tough decision to make about whether it's our role as senators to overturn the will of the people. Now, I think it's a different situation if the allegations are not known, or if they occur while the person is sitting in the Senate.
JOHN DICKERSON: Right. Let me go on to taxes. You voted for the Senate tax cut bill. But you seem to be having qualms, questions about this conference report. Where are you on things now?
SUSAN COLLINS: I always wait until the final version of the bill is brought before us, before I make a final decision on whether or not to support it. There are major differences between the House and Senate bills. And I don't know where the bill is going to come out. I also obviously care very much about amendments that I was successful in getting in the bill that particularly help middle income families. And I'm also concerned about agreements that I have.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about two of those agreements. One is on Medicare. You've got an agreement from Leader McConnell and Paul Ryan that there would not be these automatic Medicare cuts afterwards. Paul Ryan seemed to suggest maybe he wasn't a party to that agreement. What's the- Where do things stand on that agreement?
SUSAN COLLINS: I have written correspondence that memorializes the agreement that the 4% cut in Medicare that could go into effect will not go into effect. I would point out that that law has been waived 16 times. It has never been implemented. But I don't want seniors to have the anxiety of wondering whether the tax bill somehow is going to trigger a cut in Medicare. I'm absolutely confident. I have it in writing, a statement by both Mitch McConnell and Speaker Ryan.
JOHN DICKERSON: The waiving of the so-called PAYGO Rules. Let me ask you about seniors and seniors in Maine. The other thing you got a commitment on, as I understand it, is that there would be legislation that would come up before the end of the year dealing with these cost-sharing payments. There's a piece of legislation sponsored by Alexander and Murray. What's happening with that? Because in the House, Republicans are being told, "Nah, that's not going to be a part of anything before the end of the year," which means, without those cost-sharing payments, premiums are going up for Maine seniors.
SUSAN COLLINS: I've had a lot of conversations not only with my colleagues in the Senate, but with my colleagues on the House side, and with the White House. I've talked to the president three times about this issue. And once again, I have no reason to believe that that commitment will not be kept. After all, who wants to see health insurance premiums become more unaffordable than they already are for individuals who are buying insurance in the individual market? And our two bills, this one that I have with Bill Nelson, and the Alexander Murray bill, will exert downward pressure on premiums and make it more affordable.
JOHN DICKERSON: There is one critique of that, though, that your legislation helped the condition before this tax bill, which has the removal of that individual mandate. And that, basically, these fixes won't be enough for those people who will see higher premium increases.
SUSAN COLLINS: We have brand new study that just came out last week by Avalere, a respected consulting firm, that says it will more than offset the repeal of the individual mandate. And keep in mind that the individual mandate fines fall disproportionately on low and middle income families. 80% of those fines are paid by families who make less than $50,000 a year.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Senator, I'm afraid we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for being with us.
SUSAN COLLINS: Thank you, John.
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