Republican Senator Susan Collins recorded criticising Donald Trump

US Senator Susan Collins speaking during an interview in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 24, 2017.
US Senator Susan Collins speaking during an interview in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 24, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Republican US Senator Susan Collins on Tuesday was recorded making critical comments about the Trump administration's understanding of the legislative process during a Senate subcommittee hearing.

She discussed Republican President Donald Trump and the federal budget with Democratic Senator Jack Reed at the end of a Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing, according to a tape obtained by the Washington Post.

On the recording, Ms Collins suggests the Office of Management and Budget is being capricious in its approach to reducing spending.

"No thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It's just incredibly irresponsible," Ms Collins said, according to a Post report and accompanying audio.

"I think - I think he's crazy," Mr Reed replied in an apparent reference to Mr Trump.

"I don't think he knows there is a BCA (Budget Control Act) or anything," Ms Collins later said, apparently referring to the President and a 2011 budget law.

Collins spokesman Annie Clark told Reuters that Ms Collins is worried about the elimination of funding for transportation and housing programmes in Mr Trump's budget.

Reed spokesman Chip Unruh said the senator was "letting Senator Collins know he's in her corner".

"He has said it publicly and privately: The Trump Administration is behaving erratically and irresponsibly," Mr Unruh said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Later in the recording, Ms Collins also responds to a Republican representative, Mr Blake Farenthold, who said recently that he wished he could challenge her to a duel over her healthcare bill opposition.

Ms Collins was one of just two Senate Republicans on Tuesday who voted against beginning debate on a bill to replace Obamacare.

"Did you see the picture of him in his pyjamas next to this Playboy bunny?" Ms Collins asked Mr Reed, saying that Mr Farenthold was "huge", and referencing a 2010 picture of Mr Farenthold that made the rounds on Twitter.

Ms Collins said in a statement that "neither weapons nor inappropriate words" were the right way to resolve legislative disputes.

"I received a handwritten apology from Republican Farenthold late this morning. I accept his apology and I offer him mine," she said.