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Ways and Means Republican willing to consider federal funds for Baltimore, but not yet committed

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Rep. Adrian Smith became the latest House Republican to entertain federally funding the rebuilding of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, but he was not yet willing to commit to the idea.

“I’m willing to take a look at that but there should also be some resources privately — that should be an option as well,” the veteran Nebraska Republican said following a brief pro forma session Tuesday in Washington. “Let’s not just jump to the conclusion of that it has to be a federal answer.”

Smith is just the latest Republican to express hesitation or outright resistance toward using federal dollars to rebuild the bridge and reopen the Port of Baltimore. Maryland officials argue reopening the port, one of the nation’s busiest, and bridge will have stave off rippling economic consequences throughout the country — especially on the East Coast.

The Nebraska Republican acknowledged the potential for supply chain disruptions while the port remains shuttered.

“I also know that when it comes to our ports, we do have some redundancy that I think can be helpful,” he said. “I don’t want to take anything for granted. But I think it’s a reminder that we want to make sure things like this don’t happen again.”