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HomeStockBiden surveys collapsed Baltimore bridge, pledges assist By Reuters

Biden surveys collapsed Baltimore bridge, pledges assist By Reuters


By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden took an aerial tour on Friday of the collapsed Baltimore bridge that’s blocking a key East Coast transport lane, and he pledged federal assist in rebuilding the span, an thought some Republican lawmakers within the U.S. Congress have resisted.

A cargo ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, sending it splashing into the harbor and killing six individuals. Work to clear the wreckage and restore visitors by means of the Mid-Atlantic state’s transport channel is ongoing.

Aboard his Marine One helicopter, Biden flew over the scene of the catastrophe to get an aerial view. He met native officers for a briefing on the financial impression to the Baltimore port, an essential transport vacation spot for ships to dump cars.

Talking with the fallen bridge behind him as an imposing backdrop, Biden vowed, “We won’t relaxation” till the bridge is rebuilt and the realm is again to regular.

He known as on Congress to approve funding for the brand new bridge as quickly as attainable.

“I am right here to say your nation has your again and I imply it,” Biden stated. “We’ll get this paid for.”

He additionally vowed that the events chargeable for the bridge collapse will assist pay to restore the harm and “be held accountable to the fullest extent the regulation will enable.”

Biden later met the households of the six individuals killed within the accident. The victims had been all immigrants from Mexico and Central America, who had been fixing potholes on the street floor of the bridge when it collapsed.

Shortly earlier than the president’s flyover, dive groups recovered the physique of one of many lacking freeway restore employees, Maynor Yasir Suazo-Sandoval, 38, of Honduras, officers stated. Three different our bodies stay trapped beneath the underwater particles. Two others had been beforehand recovered.

Biden’s assembly with the households of those immigrant employees got here as his rival Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has ramped up anti-immigrant rhetoric and forged migrants as harmful criminals “poisoning the blood” of America.

State and federal officers have raised alarms over the hardships the port’s closure might impose on the regional economic system with hundreds of port employees already idled.

The Port of Baltimore ranks first within the U.S. for quantity of autos and light-weight vehicles and farm and building equipment dealt with, in response to the state of Maryland. Most of that visitors has been suspended for the reason that accident, although some terminal operations outdoors the affected space have resumed.

The White Home’s Workplace of Administration & Funds (OMB), in a letter to Congress on Friday, requested the federal authorities to cowl the bridge substitute, which federal officers say might value at the least $2 billion.

Some Republican hardliners within the U.S. Home of Representatives oppose utilizing new federal {dollars} to fund the bridge’s reconstruction. Such a request might in all probability move the Senate, managed by Biden’s fellow Democrats, however could run into bother within the narrowly divided Home.

The Home Freedom Caucus, a bloc of roughly three dozen hardline Republicans who can wield outsized affect over Home Speaker Mike Johnson, on Friday issued a collection of calls for in alternate for his or her cooperation.

FUNDING FOR THE BRIDGE

Hours after the bridge collapse, Biden stated the U.S. authorities would “pay the complete value” of reconstruction and his administration introduced $60 million in emergency reduction final week.

The administration will pursue all avenues to get well prices and “be sure that any compensation for damages or insurance coverage proceeds collected will cut back prices for the American individuals,” Workplace of Administration and Funds Director Shalanda Younger wrote on Friday.

White Home officers have held talks in current weeks with Johnson’s workplace over billions in help for Ukraine and Israel in addition to cash for the collapsed bridge, in response to two officers acquainted with conversations who requested to not be named.

The spending measures individually have bipartisan assist, however the White Home is conscious that Johnson should fulfill his hardline colleagues, which implies many spending proposals can be tethered collectively to be able to move, the officers stated.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: View of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., April 4, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard/File Photo

The Freedom Caucus, whose members helped oust Johnson’s predecessor final 12 months, stated Congress ought to search “most legal responsibility” from overseas transport corporations.

It additionally demanded that any help be totally offset with spending cuts and that the Endangered Species Act and different laws are waived to keep away from delays.



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