Mar 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Congress’ Marylanders gear up to fight for bridge funds

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, wearing a dark blue suit jacket, white shirt and blue tie, giving a thumbs up in a Senate committee chamber.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Key members of Congress from Maryland are already previewing plans to push for emergency funding to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore following its collapse on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Biden said he plans to have the federal government "pay the entire cost" of reconstruction in a speech on Tuesday.

  • In calls to Maryland's congressional delegation and Gov. Wes Moore, Biden said he "told them we're going to send all the federal resources they need as we respond to this emergency."
  • "I expect Congress to support my effort," he added.

What they're saying: "Once the search and rescue operation is complete, opening the Port of Baltimore and rebuilding the Key Bridge are our top priorities," Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a statement.

  • "I'll be fighting for any federal resources Baltimore needs," he added.
  • Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) told Axios in a statement that the "first priority" is the rescue operation, but that he is "absolutely committed to delivering urgently needed federal funding for the recovery and rebuilding efforts of the Key Bridge."
  • Both lawmakers are members of their respective chambers' appropriations committees, which deal with federal spending.

Catch up quick: The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning after a cargo ship struck the bridge, prompting a state of emergency in Maryland.

  • Six construction workers who were on the bridge when it collapsed were still unaccounted for as of Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
  • The Port of Baltimore halted traffic indefinitely. The port is a vital waterway for commerce in the U.S. and in 2023 handled international cargo worth nearly $81 billion.

Between the lines: Emergency spending packages have been a contentious issue this congressional session, with House Republicans so far refusing to hold a vote on a mammoth foreign aid package passed by the Senate.

Go deeper: What to know about the ripple effects of the Baltimore bridge collapse

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