President BidenJoe BidenVideo depicting violence removed from Rep. Gosar’s account after blowback Federal judge rejects Trump effort to block Jan. 6 docs Expected price increases raise political stakes for Biden MORE on Wednesday acknowledged the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has not resonated with swaths of the American public due to rising prices and supply chain slowdowns but made the case his agenda would alleviate those issues in the coming months.
Biden, speaking from the Port of Baltimore, said that “everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more,” noting some residents in California were paying more than $4 for a gallon of gas.
“Many people remain unsettled about the economy, and we all know why,” Biden said. “They see higher prices. They go to the store or go online, and they can’t find what they always want and when they want it, and we’re tracking these issues and figuring out how to tackle them head on.”
“My administration has a plan to finish the job of getting us back to normal from the pandemic and having a stronger economy than we ever had before,” Biden added.
The president laid out his goals to bring down prices, ensure store shelves are fully stocked and get more Americans back to work during his first trip to tout the passage of a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill through Congress. The White House announced during Biden’s trip that he will sign the bill on Monday.
Biden spoke hours after the Labor Department released statistics showing consumer prices grew far faster than expected in October and that annual inflation had hit a 30-year high.
The consumer price index, which tracks inflation for a range of staple goods and services, rose 0.9 percent last month and 6.2 percent in the 12-month period ending in October. The rise in prices was driven largely by a 4.8 percent increase in energy costs and a 0.9 percent increase in food prices.
Inflation concerns have been a persistent problem for the Biden administration as the president’s approval ratings have taken a downturn in recent weeks. A poll released Monday found that 36 percent of adults in the U.S. believe the state of the economy is the most critical problem for the country, more than any other issue. Of those respondents, 72 percent said Biden hasn’t paid enough attention to the right issues.
Biden on Wednesday argued his administration had put the proper tools in place to boost the economy, pointing to stimulus checks, child tax credits and the newly passed infrastructure bill that will invest in public transit, ports, railways, bridges and pipes carrying drinking water. He pointed to supply chain bottlenecks caused by the pandemic as the culprit for inflation and broader economic frustrations.
The president highlighted $17 billion in the infrastructure bill designated for modernizing ports, which he said would be used to ease congestion in major hubs such as Savannah, Ga.
“On the one hand, we’re facing new disruptions to our supplies. At the same time, we’re also experiencing higher demand for goods because wages are up, as well as people have money in the bank because of the strength of our economic recovery,” Biden said. “That’s why it’s so important we do everything in our power to stabilize the supply chain.”
Biden on Tuesday spoke with executives of Target, Walmart, UPS and FedEx about efforts to ease supply chain disruptions. Those CEOs assured Biden shelves would be well stocked for the holiday season, the White House said.
“The bottom line is this: With the bill we passed last week and the steps we’re taking to reduce bottlenecks at home and abroad, we’re set to make significant progress,” Biden said Wednesday.
“We’re already in the midst of historic economic recovery, and thanks to those steps we’re taking very soon we’re going to see the supply chain start catching up with demand. So not only will we see more record-breaking job growth; we’ll see lower prices, faster deliveries as well,” he added.