Infrastructure negotiations should continue but 'fundamental difference' remains: GOP Sen. Susan Collins

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday that while she thinks infrastructure negotiations between Senate Republicans and the White House should continue, there is still a “fundamental difference” between the two parties on what qualifies as infrastructure.

“I think negotiations should continue but it’s important to note that there’s some fundamental difference here, and at the heart of the negotiations is defining the scope of the bill. What is infrastructure?” Collins told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during an exclusive interview on “This Week.” “We Republicans tend to define the infrastructure in terms of roads, bridges, seaports and airports and broadband, the Democratic definition seems to include social programs that have never been considered part of core infrastructure.”

Progress on an infrastructure package stalled last week when the group of Republicans negotiating with the White House rejected a counteroffer that lowered the price tag from more than $2.2 trillion to $1.7 trillion. But even trimming $550 billion in spending from President Joe Biden’s original proposal, the administration’s new offer is still more than $1 trillion more than the latest GOP offer. While the White House had set a deadline of this upcoming Memorial Day weekend to have made significant progress on the package, that benchmark seems unlikely given a spokesperson for West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who is leading the Senate GOP’s efforts on this, said there are still “vast differences” and that “the groups seem further apart after two meetings with White House staff than they were after one meeting with President Biden.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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