WASHINGTON — President Obama isn’t likely to persuade lawmakers to pass his entire $3 trillion deficit reduction plan, said Maine Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud.

But Michaud said Monday that the debt reduction super committee should consider Obama’s proposals as members try to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in savings later this year.

“The ‘my way or the highway’ approach, no matter who takes it, hurts our ability to find common ground,” Michaud said in a statement, adding that he is still examining the president’s plan.

He said he supports Obama’s call “for a more equitable tax system and making sure that our budget isn’t balanced on the backs of the middle class and small businesses.”

Maine Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said she supports Obama’s plan, which includes $1.5 trillion in tax increases.

“It’s time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, which I think should include letting the Bush tax cuts expire and closing loopholes that let wealthy taxpayers like hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than working families,” Pingree said via email Monday. “I also support President Obama’s proposed surcharge on millionaires.”

Pingree’s husband, Donald Sussman, is a billionaire hedge fund manager.

But Sen. Olympia Snowe promptly criticized the proposed tax hikes, though the Maine Republican said she welcomed the president’s call for a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code.

“Raising taxes is both a bad idea for the economy and the wrong way to address our deficits and debt,” Snowe said in a statement.

Snowe said Obama’s tax hike proposals would “slow or strangle” already anemic economic growth and “stifle” job creation among small businesses.

Some Republicans, including Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, say they aren’t averse to all tax increases.

Snowe and Collins are open to closing some tax loopholes, such as breaks for major oil companies, and Collins says she could back a tax hike on those making $5 million or more.

But Snowe and Collins say too many small businesses would be harmed by allowing the Bush tax cuts on wealthier Americans to expire, because of the way small-business owners file their taxes.

That’s an argument that Democrats disagree with. They cite a report by the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation that just a fraction of businesses would be affected, many of them partnerships or investors, not the type of small-business job creators cited by Republicans.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: [email protected]

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