Conservative Freedom Caucus: Congress must find ways to pay for Key bridge repairs, waive regs

President Biden has said the federal government would cover the full cost of the bridge repairs after a cargo ship crashed into it, causing it to collapse
Bob Good

The conservative House Freedom Caucus on Friday called on Congress to find ways to pay for repairs to the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and waive "burdensome regulations" to speed up the project.

President Biden has said the federal government would cover the full cost of the bridge repairs after a cargo ship crashed into it March 26, causing it to collapse.

Biden is visiting the site of the incident Friday.

"Before Congress considers any emergency supplemental funding for the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, it’s important that (1) we first seek maximum liability from the foreign shipping companies upfront and (2) the Port of Baltimore draws upon already available federal funds," the caucus said in a formal statement released on Friday.
 
"If it proves necessary to appropriate taxpayer money to get one of America’s busiest ports back online, Congress should ensure it is fully offset and that burdensome regulations (such as NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, the Davis Bacon Act, project labor agreements, etc.) are waived to avoid all unnecessary delays and costs," read the statement. 
 
The members of the caucus, which is led by Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., said federal funding applied toward the repair "must be limited to physical structure repairs with a federal nexus – this must not become a pork-filled bill loaded with unrelated projects and the House of Representatives must adhere to the ‘single subject’ rule."
 
In addition, the caucus argued that the Biden Administration’s "pause on approvals of liquified natural gas export terminals – which, like the Baltimore harbor closure, has severe implications for foreign trade – must be lifted before Congress considers appropriating any funding for the bridge reconstruction."