Gov. Moore to Republicans on Baltimore bridge funding: ‘This is not political … this is a patriotic responsibility’

TheGrio caught up with Moore after the Maryland governor met with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and congressional members on Capitol Hill.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore,
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore speaks at an event on the Biden administration's workforce initiative plan at Carver Vocational School on Nov. 13, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., met with Maryland Governor Wes Moore at the U.S. Capitol to discuss efforts to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore despite opposition from House Republicans.

“This is not political,” Moore told theGrio. “This is not partisan. This is a patriotic responsibility.”

He added, “We have six individuals who we lost in Maryland, but how do we make sure we’re going to honor that?”

The Maryland governor met with the Jeffries on Thursday shortly following the House minority leader’s weekly press conference.

During the conference, Jeffries told theGrio that House Democrats have been leading efforts to make sure “we are able to provide the city of Baltimore, the people of Baltimore, and certainly the immigrant families who have experienced the loss of a loved one with the support that they need in this moment of great crisis.”

Moore told theGrio that he is “grateful” for the opportunity to speak with Jeffries and other members of Congress.

“We’re just continuing to share the importance of what the bridge means, not just in Maryland but what the bridge means to this country economically,” said Moore. “I’m grateful that the leader [Jeffries] has already been incredibly supportive of this work.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries,
US House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 29, 2023. The US government began on September 28 informing workers of an impending shutdown that could see millions of federal employees and military personnel temporarily sent home or working without pay, unless Congress reaches a funding deal. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Thursday’s meeting came after the Democratic Maryland congressional delegation, U.S. Reps. Kweisi Mfume, Jamie Raskin, Glenn Ivey, Steny Hoyer, John Sarbanes, and Dutch Ruppersberger took to the House floor to urge their Republican colleagues to back efforts to rebuild the bridge on Wednesday.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also took to the House floor with her Democratic colleagues, told theGrio on Thursday that it was vital for her to make a stand because she is a Baltimore native.

“I’m concerned about what happened to the bridge and what it means to our country and economy, to jobs and to the lives of the people there who lost their lives,” said Pelosi.

On March 26, around 1:30 a.m., Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed when a massive cargo ship ran into one of the bridge’s support beams, causing the bridge to collapse into the Patapsco River. The tragedy claimed the lives of six migrant construction workers.

“There are tens of thousands of people whose work relied on the port … we have a port that is responsible for about $70 billion of economic activity not just in the state but to this country,” said Governor Moore.

Baltimore, he added, has the “largest port in the country for new cars and heavy trucks and agricultural supplies.”

Following the bridge collapse, President Joe Biden announced that his administration would spend $60 million in emergency relief funds on the bridge’s reconstruction.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – APRIL 05: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Headquarters, near the site of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, on April 05, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. The bridge collapsed after being struck by the 984-foot cargo ship Dali at 1:30 AM on March 26. President Biden traveled to Baltimore for an aerial tour of the salvage operation of the bridge and to meet with families of the six victims who were working to repair potholes on the bridge when it collapsed. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

However, some House Republicans have refused to support a bill providing additional funding. Some have gone as far as blaming the tragedy on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

U.S. Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Utah, tweeted a message with a headshot of Karenthia A. Barber, commissioner for the Port of Baltimore – and who happens to be a Black woman. The congressman wrote, “This is what happens when you have Governors who prioritize diversity over the wellbeing and security of citizens.”

Others joined Lyman in taking to social media to call Moore and Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott “DEI hires.”

Moore told theGrio that he has spent “no time” on addressing the attacks from the far-right but instead has made it a priority to “honor the families and bring them closure … and making sure we’re supporting the people that have been impacted.”

Despite some House Republicans’ refusal to back the Biden-Harris administration’s plan to rebuild Baltimore’s bridge, U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., told theGrio that he “has complete faith that Biden is going to get the money to Wes Moore somehow quickly.”

“Baltimore is going to get what it needs,” said Bowman. “The administration is going to make sure of that.”

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