Biden says ‘shelves are going to be stocked’ for the holiday season
(CNN) -- President Joe Biden on Wednesday sought to reassure Americans that shelves will be stocked this holiday season despite issues with global supply chains, and that his administration is “using every tool available” to bring down high consumer prices.
“If you watched the news recently, you might think the shelves in all our stores are empty across the country, that parents won’t be able to get presents for their children this holiday season,” Biden said. “But here’s the deal: For the vast majority of the country, that’s not what’s happening.”
The President touted actions his administration has taken to speed up operations and extend hours at key southern California ports as well as facilitating the transportation of goods more quickly.
Overall, Biden said “shelves are going to be stocked” and that the US is “heading into the holiday season in very strong shape.”
Biden said CEOs he met with earlier this week “reported that their inventories are up, shelves are well stocked and they’re ready to meet the consumer demand for the holidays.” The President hosted a roundtable at the White House with executives from Best Buy, Food Lion, Etsy, Walmart, Mattel, Samsung, CVS Health and others.
In October, in response to a backlog of container ships off of the West Coast, the President announced the Port of Los Angeles would move to 24/7 service, bringing it in line with operations at the Port of Long Beach, which was already working on a 24/7 schedule. Those two ports handle 40% of container traffic in the US.
“Over the last month, the number of containers left sitting on docks blocking movement to those stores was for over eight days. Now it’s down by 40%, which means they’re heading to shelves in stores more quickly,” Biden said. “That’s an incredible success story.”
The President also addressed rising consumer prices that are frustrating Americans across the country and said his administration has been “using every tool available” to address the issue. The White House is facing mounting pressure to lower skyrocketing prices at the pump that are contributing to the biggest inflation spike in decades.
“This is a worldwide challenge, a natural by-product for the world economy shut down by the pandemic as it comes back to life,” Biden said, pointing to other countries like the United Kingdom and Canada that are having the same issue.
The President said: “Prices are still out of sync as the world comes back. But as we continue to overcome these obstacles, the more price pressures will ease.”
He said the US’ release of emergency oil reserves, which is being conducted in coordination with several other major countries, “won’t solve the high gas prices overnight, but it has been making a difference.”
Over the last month, he said, “likely due in part to the anticipation of this action, we’ve seen the price of oil and gasoline on the wholesale markets come down significantly.”
“In fact, since the end of October, the average weekly price of gasoline in the wholesale market has fallen by about 10%. That’s a drop of 25 cents per gallon. Those savings should reach the American people very soon, and it can’t happen fast enough,” Biden said.
The Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve -- the largest release from the reserve in US history, Biden said. It is being done in coordination with several other countries, including China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.
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