BIDDEFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The old saying is that politics can make strange bedfellows. That was in evidence Friday, as Senator Susan Collins, usually an opponent of the Trump Administration, was supporting efforts for a major tax cut plan the President wants passed by Congress. The specifics are still being figured out, and the Senate and House have different proposals in the works.
According to staff members, Collins has developed an apparently friendly working relationship with President Trump’s advisor, and daughter, Ivanka Trump. The two joined forces in Biddeford Friday for a tax forum with an invited audience of about 220 people. Collins' Chief of Staff, Steve Abbott, said the White House asked Collins to organize the event, which was held at Volk Packaging in Biddeford. Many in the audience were invited by Collins, while others were invited by the Maine GOP.
Collins and Trump both said changing the tax laws will help corporations and small businesses compete and grow.
"We want to help our working families and our small businesses and larger businesses create jobs right here in America not overseas," said Collins.
The GOP tax plans both include proposals to lower the corporate tax rate. The Senate plan would increase deductions for individuals and couples, and increase the Child Tax Credit-- both ideas favored by Ivanka Trump. She told the audience the goal is to have sustained economic growth of at least 3% each year.
"The combination of deregulation, workforce development with tax reform will be explosive, for GDP growth in this country," Trump said.
One of the major criticisms of the current Senate and House tax cut plans is that they would increase the national debt by more than a1.4 trillion dollars over the next ten years. That topic did not come up during the forum. Several audience members told NEWS CENTER the debt needs to be part of the tax discussion.
A group of York County Democrats protested outside the event, calling on Collins to not side with Trump. Democrats in Washington are criticizing the tax reform plans, saying they will raise taxes on middle-class households. The GOP says those plans will lower taxes.