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Senator Collins says not committed to tax bill, concerned about SALT

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks with reporters ahead of the party luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Thursday she was not committed to voting for the Senate tax bill, citing concerns over healthcare and the loss of a deduction for state and local taxes.

Collins told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast it would be “very difficult for me to support the bill if I do not prevail on those two issues” but she was encouraged by her discussions with leadership.

Collins said she has proposed an amendment to the tax bill that would retain the deduction for property taxes up to $10,000, as the House bill does.

The Senate bill repeals the Affordable Care Act fine on people who do not purchase health insurance, which will lead to higher insurance premiums. Collins has asked lawmakers to include in a separate bill provisions that would help insurers cover expensive patients, and that would continue Obamacare subsidy payments for low income people for two years.

The Republican from Maine also said one of her amendments to the tax bill is a refundable tax credit for adult dependent care that would be paid for by closing a loophole on carried interest.

Collins said she believed the corporate tax rate does not need to be cut as low as 20 percent, as President Donald Trump has favored. She said 21 or 22 percent would be “fine with me.”

She said she expected a Senate floor vote during the tax bill debate on making individual tax cuts permanent, or to make corporate tax cuts expire at same time as individual cuts.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski