Janet Yellen walks back Biden's comments US taxpayers on hook for Baltimore bridge collapse

Biden said Tuesday that federal government 'will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge'

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday appeared to walk back comments from President Biden that U.S. taxpayers would foot the bill for the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore.

Appearing on MSNBC, Yellen said money from the bipartisan infrastructure law could "potentially be helpful." 

"My expectation would be that ultimately there will be insurance payments, in part, to cover this. But we don’t want to allow worrying about where the financing will come from to hold up reconstruction," Yellen said. 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. (Alex Wong/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Her comments come a day after Biden said it was his "intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge, and I expect the Congress to support my effort." 

Biden said that, while the effort will take some time, the people of Baltimore "can count on us." 

When asked by a reporter whether the company that manages the ship should be held responsible, Biden said the federal government would not wait for any decisions and would step in to get the bridge built and reopened. 


The Francis Scott Key Bridge along I-695 in Maryland collapsed in the Baltimore harbor around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after a cargo ship slammed into a support beam. The collapse sent at least eight construction workers and multiple vehicles plunging into the Patapsco River below. 

The Francis Scott Key Bridge

The cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The cargo ship that hit the bridge was the Dali, a 95,000 GT Singapore-flagged container ship, per the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore. There were 22 crew members onboard at the time of the incident. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AMKBY A.P. MØLLER-MÆRSK A/S 7.84 -0.26 -3.21%

The Synergy Group, a Singapore-based company that manages the ship, said in a statement that two pilots piloting the ship through the harbor and all crew members onboard were accounted for and there are no reports of any injuries. The group also said that no pollution has been reported.


The large vessel appeared to catch fire before becoming disabled. Footage of the incident shows the lights going out multiple times on the vessel in question prior to impact, suggesting the collision may have been due to a power failure.

Fox News Digital’s Landon Mion, Anders Hagstrom and Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.