Ivanka Trump joins Sen. Collins in Biddeford to pitch Republican tax reform effort

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The two speak about potential benefits to the middle class and small businesses at an event in Biddeford that draws about 250 mostly Republican invited guests.

Portland Press Herald by Brianna Soukup
Sen. Susan Collins and Ivanka Trump at a tax reform forum Friday in Biddeford. Portland Press Herald by Brianna Soukup

BIDDEFORD – The eldest daughter of the president teamed up with Maine’s senior U.S. senator Friday in an effort to build support for the Republican tax reform effort at a forum attended by an invitation-only crowd of about 250 people.

Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser to her father, President Trump, appears to have built a relationship with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, around common political goals as they pertain to taxes and working families.

Collins, in introducing Ivanka Trump, said she had grown to know her as a “passionate advocate for working families and women.” The two women have met several times at the White House, according to a Collins spokeswoman.

In an hourlong presentation, the two spoke about the need to simplify tax filing and help the middle class. They also appeared focused on bringing a tax break to small businesses like the one where they appeared, Volk Packaging.

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“The stated goal is twofold: enable our businesses to be competitive and thrive and to provide meaningful tax relief to middle income families,” Ivanka Trump said of the tax reform effort.

Collins said she supports efforts to reduce the top tax rate for corporations in the United States. She said that move would encourage the return of companies that have left the United States in order to shelter their profits offshore, and bring more jobs and investments.

“Better yet, it will encourage them to invest in America in the first place rather than investing overseas,” Collins said of what she called a “territorial tax system.”

U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza also appeared with Trump and Collins in a series of questions served to them by moderator Nan Hayworth, a former congresswoman from New York.

About 250 people were invited to attend by Collins, the event’s host, Volk Packaging and the Maine Republican Party.

Among those present were the executive director of the Maine Republican Party, Jason Savage, Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau and dozens of other Republican lawmakers. Thibodeau is also among four candidates in the Republican primary for governor in 2018.

Ivanka Trump and Collins have met several times in Washington to discuss issues that affect working families, said Annie Clark, spokeswoman for Collins. Clark said the forum in Biddeford was a result of those meetings.

“(Ivanka) wanted to come to Maine and we were happy to have her,” Clark said.

Outside Volk Packaging, which makes cardboard boxes, a handful of protesters from Mainers Accountable Leadership gathered, saying they wanted to urge Collins to reject provisions of tax reform legislation now before Congress, which they contend will mostly benefit the wealthiest Americans.

Collins has been a frequent critic of the president and his administration and during the 2016 election campaign said she wouldn’t be voting for him. She has also opposed the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and has been among three hold-out Republicans in the Senate on the issue.

Collins is a key and coveted vote in the narrowly divided U.S. Senate and is likely to be a major factor in voting on any federal tax reforms Republicans hope to push through.

Ivanka Trump has been promoting the tax reform package, which she says would help working families. She has also been an advocate for paid family leave for new working mothers.

Carranza, the 44th treasurer of the United States, oversees the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. She is a former deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration in the George W. Bush administration.

This story will be updated.

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  • FrankE

    If anyone believes that cutting taxes for the large corporations and reducing taxes on the rich will help produce more jobs, than they haven’t been paying attention. Trickle down economics has failed in every attempt. All House Republicans want at this time is anything they can call a tax break for corporations. They need to save face and fulfill their promises. House Republicans could give a rats behind about cutting taxes on the middle class. The middle class doesn’t finance their extravagant campaigns year in and year out. It’s becoming a career out there to be a politician and the talent needed to earn more money in this case isn’t good work habits, it’s your ability to take it from corporate donors. This task is relatively easy where many politicians in search of lucrative favors from elected officials will donate heavily to both sides to be sure they are on the winning side. As long as this type of politics is allowed to take place, we the little people have smaller and smaller say in our well being. Once again it’s the money that talks, us poor folks just sweep up the floor afterwards………..