Press Release

June 28, 2024
Cardin, Van Hollen, Mfume Praise Biden’s Disaster Supplemental Request That Will Support Baltimore
The president’s request would fulfill his commitment to have the federal government cover the full cost of the bridge replacement.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Kweisi Mfume (All D-Md.) are calling on their congressional colleagues to support President Joe Biden’s just-released supplemental funding request for disaster recovery nationwide. The measure includes funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Emergency Relief program, which already has provided initial funding and will continue to be the primary resource for federal funds to replace the Francis Scott Key Bridge that was hit by a cargo ship and collapsed in March. Importantly, the president’s request would fulfill his commitment for the federal government cover the full cost of the bridge replacement.

The lawmakers expressed support for the president’s supplemental request, and made clear that they will continue to review all available legislative opportunities to pass the Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would ensure 100 percent federal coverage for the bridge replacement, as has been done in other states that experienced catastrophic disasters.

“Since the day of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the federal government has been an essential partner in rescue, recovery and salvage. As we move closer to replacement of the bridge, the federal government will continue to fully support Maryland, as it has other states when this level of disaster has struck,” said Senator Cardin. “Full federal funding should be a non-issue, based on precedent and because the federal taxpayers will be reimbursed in large part by insurance and other recovered funds. Team Maryland will seek out every legislative option to move this bill as soon as possible this Congress.”

“With the Patapsco River clear of bridge debris and the Port of Baltimore fully reopened, we are pushing full steam ahead on building a new bridge. President Biden’s emergency funding package reflects his commitment to meet the urgent needs of Americans, and for our state it lives up to his promise that ‘the nation has your back’ in the wake of the Key bridge tragedy. Team Maryland will continue fighting to ensure Maryland has the funds it needs to rebuild the bridge and to honor the commitment the President made on the day the Key Bridge came down that the federal government will cover the full cost of the replacement,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“From the moment the cargo ship Dali struck Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, elected leadership – across all levels of government – have been deliberate and intentional in our disaster response both on the scene and in our respective governmental bodies. This request comes after bipartisan, calculated advocacy from Members of the Maryland congressional delegation and replenishes a clear funding source for emergency relief in Baltimore and across the country. Rest assured, no challenge ahead looms too large as we use all means at our disposal to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” said Congressman Mfume. 

The presidential request also will provide tax relief for Baltimore longshoremen who were forced to make hardship withdrawals from their retirement plans to pay family bills when the Port of Baltimore was almost entirely shut down. Typically, if an individual withdraws from their retirement plan early, they are subject to a tax penalty.

Cardin and Van Hollen joined colleagues from other disaster-impacted states in May asking President Biden to resubmit his request for supplemental disaster funding.