Sen. Susan Collins — who has long cultivated an image as a centrist — recently pointed to her votes against repealing the Affordable Care Act to play up her moderate side, ignoring her 20-plus votes to repeal, delay or defund the law.
In a statement to The Boston Globe this week, Collins, a Republican from Maine who is up for re-election next year, said her vote protecting the ACA and her votes against confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos were proof of her penchant for bipartisanship.
But since 2011, Collins has voted at least 21 times — 13 times on the floor and eight times in committee — to defund, delay or repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, which protected people with pre-existing conditions.
Collins has also voted with Trump 94 percent of the time, according to CQ, belying her claim to be a check on the Trump agenda.
In her statement to The Globe, Collins blamed the “hyperpartisanship” of both parties for preventing Congress from doing its job.
“Often these outside groups, on both sides, want 100% fidelity to 100% of their views 100% of the time,” Collins said. “But I’ve always believed that neither side has a monopoly on good ideas and that in order to craft the best policy, you need to bring both sides to the table to find common ground.”
In July 2017, Collins and two other Republican senators — John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — voted against a bill that would have gutted the ACA, in part by eliminating the mandate that most people have health insurance.
But that December, Collins was one of the deciding votes on a GOP tax bill that produced a windfall for corporations and the wealthy and also eliminated the individual mandate.
That wasn’t the first time she had worked to revoke the legislation that she is now taking credit for protecting.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee between 2011 and 2013, Collins votes eight times to defund, delay or repeal key parts of the ACA. On the Senate floor, she has voted 13 times for bills or amendments to do the same.