President Joe Biden traveled to Baltimore Friday to witness firsthand the remnants of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

He received an aerial tour of the area to survey the damage in the area aboard Marine One.

“From the air, I saw the bridge that’s been ripped apart but here on the ground, I see a community that’s been pulled together,” Biden said in his remarks, following a briefing on the cleanup by Brigadier Gen. John Lloyd, the commander of the North Atlantic Division for the Army Corps of Engineers.

“I’m here to say your nation has your back and I mean it,” the president said.

“The damage is devastating and our hearts are still breaking,” he said. He called the six construction workers killed in the bridge collapse “hard working, strong and selfless” individuals.

Biden drew from the experience of losing his son, Beau Biden, from brain cancer in 2015, and his first wife and daughter in a car crash in 1972, saying, “It’s not the same but I know a little bit about what it’s like to lose a piece of your soul, to get that phone call in the middle of the night.”

“It’s really like having a black hole in your chest. Like you’re being sucked in, unable to breathe. The anger, the pain, the depth of loss is so profound,” the president said. He said his administration “will not rest ... until the cement has dried,” and a new bridge is erected. “So far, our team has been able to clear two small channels for essential ships, helping clear the wreckage,” Biden said, adding a third channel will open within this month. “By the end of May, we’ll open the full channel.”

Biden said Congress should ask one question, “How can we help?” before asking lawmakers to authorize funding

Prior to his visit, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young in a letter to congressional leaders reaffirmed the president’s decision to help Baltimore during the tragedy. Young noted the administration dispersed $60 million in emergency funds for immediate rescue, salvage and rebuilding efforts.

But, as CBS News noted, more funds are needed to “clear the massive bridge from the Patapsco River, reopen shipping channels, assist idled port workers and draw up initial infrastructure plans to rebuild the bridge.”

Young said Congress’ funding authorization would be consistent with the one from 2007 in the aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minnesota.

It could take five to seven years to reconstruct the bridge and cost at least $400 million or more, according to estimates reported by The Associated Press.

The House Freedom Caucus laid out a list of demands that advance Republican priorities in exchange for monetary help for Baltimore in a Friday morning letter.

“Before Congress considers any emergency supplemental funding for the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, it’s important that (1) we first seek maximum liability from foreign shipping companies upfront and (2) the Port of Baltimore draws upon already available federal funds.”

The Freedom Caucus pressed Congress to offset the burden on the American taxpayer and waive regulations like the Endangered Species Act, the Davis Bacon Act, and labor agreements “to avoid all unnecessary delays and costs.”

The statement also pushed Congress to limit funding to only “physical structure repaired,” without attaching any “unrelated projects.”

In its final demand, the Freedom Caucus asked the Biden administration to unpause its approvals of liquefied gas exports, which affects foreign trade as much as the Baltimore harbor closure, the letter said.

These steep requests put House Speaker Mike Johnson in a tough spot, as he struggles to consolidate support for a foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel amid a divided Republican Conference with a very slim majority.