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GOP senators see path to narrow infrastructure deal

Published: (Updated: ) in USA news by .

Bill Cassidy and John Barrasso push for a smaller plan than what President Biden has offered.

Sen. Bill Cassidy said Republicans and Democrats are “a lot closer than you might think” on a bipartisan path for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, if the plan fits into a traditional definition of infrastructure.

“If you’re talking about a scope which is roads and bridges and internet and tunnels and airports and waterways, we can be pretty close,” the Louisiana Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." “If you’re talking about spending hundreds of billions of dollars to benefit public services unions, then we are far apart.”

Cassidy is part of the so-called Gang of 10 Republican senators working to reach compromise on infrastructure. There’s also a group of 10 Democrats working to find common ground, but the cohorts are trillions of dollars apart — mainly because Republicans want infrastructure to be more narrowly defined. And Republicans don't like the $2 trillion price tag of Biden's full plan.

“This is a staggering amount of spending, like someone with a new credit card,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said on ABC's "This Week."

Barrasso has hammered Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, calling inclusion of things such as child care “cradle to grave government.”

The Wyoming Republican said he could get behind a deal that focuses on what he calls "core infrastructure," like that covered in the $568 billion counteroffer by Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

“I believe there’s a deal to be had if we leave things out like the Green New Deal and recyclable cafeteria trays and climate justice,” Barrasso said. “Because $500 billion to $600 billion of infrastructure is a massive amount of infrastructure.”

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