Roy Blunt Says Biden Infrastructure Bill Would Be 'Easy Bipartisan Win' if Narrowly Focused

Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt said that President Joe Biden and Democrats can pick up an "easy, bipartisan win" if they scrap several billions of dollars allocated in their infrastructure bill for electric vehicles and other items he views as unnecessary "pork" spending.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that the GOP plans to oppose Biden's roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan. But Blunt on Sunday told ABC News' This Week that he agrees "roads, bridges, high-speed rail and broadband" are wildly popular, as host George Stephanopoulos suggested his party may be on the "wrong side" of the debate.

Biden's so-called "big and bold" infrastructure plan has been widely derided by Blunt and other Washington Republicans who said it's bloated in the same way the COVID-19 relief package was last month. But supporters said that the GOP simply don't understand modern need for broadband wi-fi and electric vehicle chargers, which make up sizable portions of the infrastructure bill.

Blunt reiterated that if Biden and congressional Democrats will narrow the infrastructure bill down, Congress as a whole can pick up an increasingly rare, bipartisan win for both sides.

"I'm actually for all of that. If the proposal was to do just that, I don't think there would be a problem with a bipartisan group of supporters for this package," Blunt told This Week. "I have reached out to the White House a couple of times now and said, 'You've got an easy bipartisan win here if you keep this package narrowly focused on infrastructure.'"

On Pres. Biden's infrastructure proposal, Sen. Roy Blunt says he has reached out to the White House "a couple of times," and told them they have "an easy bipartisan win" if they keep it narrowly focused on infrastructure.

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 4, 2021

"And then the other 70 percent or so of the package, which doesn't have very much to do with infrastructure, if you want to force that through in a partisan way, you still could do that," Blunt continued during Sunday's program.

Numerous critics, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, have said that the Texas freeze last month should have made clear to Republican senators like Ted Cruz and John Cornyn that electric grid and digital network issues—another sizable portion of the bill— are clearly in need of massive overhauls.

But Blunt appeared to double down on his view the Biden infrastructure bill is simply too large: "Why would you pass up the opportunity here to focus on roads, bridges, what's happening underground as well as what's happening above ground in terms of infrastructure, broadband, all of which wouldn't be 40 percent of this package. All of which would be a stretch to get to 40 percent."

"There's more in the package, George, for charging stations for electric vehicles, $174 billion, than there is for roads, bridges and airports and ports. When people think about infrastructure, they're thinking about roads, bridges, ports and airports, that's a very small part of what they're calling an infrastructure package that does so much more than infrastructure," the Missouri GOP senator continued.

He said politics has clouded the judgement of Democrats in 50-50 Senate split, a chamber where a 60-vote threshold will likely be necessary to pass such massive legislation.

Blunt says he understands the dyanmic of "taking a popular title and put it, wrapping it around a bill that it's a fairly small percentage of, but it's the difference of whether you have a bipartisan, easy win or a very partisan, broad-based $2.25 trillion package."

Newsweek reached out to Blunt's Senate office for additional remarks Sunday morning.

Roy Blunt attacked by hometown paper
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri asks questions during a Senate Rules and Administration hearing to discuss the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. Greg Nash/Getty Images