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House Freedom Caucus Conditionally Supports Federal Funding for Baltimore Bridge Reconstruction Amid Policy Demands

Baltimore Bridge
Baltimore Bridge

The House Freedom Caucus has shown openness to providing federal funds for rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore but with significant conditions attached. These conditions include a demand for the Biden administration to reverse its pause on new export terminal permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and for any spending to be entirely offset by cuts elsewhere. Speaker Mike Johnson suggested tying Ukraine aid to ease the energy policy, indicating potential negotiation points.

While federal funding for the bridge’s reconstruction has garnered bipartisan support, the Freedom Caucus’s stance highlights the complexities Congress faces in crafting a response. Although Speaker Johnson might not need their votes with widespread Democratic support, he may be cautious not to alienate his right flank, especially amid efforts to remove him from the speakership.

Baltimore Bridge

Baltimore Bridge (Credits: Colorado Spring-Gazette)

Beyond the Freedom Caucus, other GOP lawmakers have also urged caution regarding a swift federal response to the Baltimore bridge collapse. They emphasize the need to utilize existing federal funds before considering new spending, highlighting concerns about fiscal responsibility.

The Freedom Caucus further insists on maximizing liability from foreign shipping companies upfront and lifting the Biden administration’s LNG export permitting pause before any emergency funds are considered. They advocate for waiving burdensome environmental and labor regulations to expedite the reconstruction process and ensure the effective utilization of taxpayer money. These demands underscore the group’s stance on fiscal conservatism and regulatory reform in responding to infrastructure crises.

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