Biden threatens to call out companies that don’t help end supply bottlenecks
President Biden on Wednesday vowed to call out companies that don’t step up and address the global supply chain bottlenecks, urging support from the whole private sector.
“If the private sector doesn’t step up, we’re going to call them out and ask them to act,” the president said in remarks at the White House.
The White House announced on Wednesday that Walmart, FedEx and UPS will move to working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that the Port of Los Angeles will also move into 24/7 service.
“I want to be clear, this is an across-the-board commitment to going to 24/7. This is a big first step in speeding up the movement of materials and goods through our supply chain but now we need the rest of the private sector chain to step up as well,” Biden said.
He met with stakeholders before his remarks, including leaders from corporations, labor unions and trade associations.
“All of these goods won’t move by themselves. For the positive impact to be felt all across the country and by all of you at home, we need major retailers who ordered the goods and the freight movers who take the goods from the ships to factories and to stores to step up as well,” Biden said.
He noted that Target, Home Depot and Samsung have all committed to ramp up their hours. The Port of Long Beach moved to 24/7 service last month.
“The night hours are critical for increasing the movement of goods because highways, highways are less crowded in the evening, at night,” he said.
The president thanked the private companies that are stepping up. “But I particularly want to thank labor,” he said.
Willie Adams, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, and Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, were in attendance at the president’s remarks.
“I know you’re hearing a lot about something called supply chains and how hard it is to get a range of things from a toaster to sneakers to bicycles to bedroom furniture,” Biden said to open his remarks.
“With the holidays coming up, you might be wondering if gifts you planned to buy will arrive on time,” he said.
The president did not answer questions from the press about guaranteeing delivery times for holiday packages after his remarks, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on the issue earlier in the day.
“We can’t overpromise here, and I’m not going to do that from here because there are a lot of issues in the global supply chain,” Psaki said.
When asked if the administration can guarantee that holiday packages will arrive on time, Psaki said, “we are not the Postal Service or UPS or FedEx, we cannot guarantee.”
“What we can do is use every lever at the federal government’s disposal to reduce delays, to ensure that we are addressing bottlenecks in the system, including ports and the need for them to be open longer hours so that goods can arrive,” she added.
The president used his remarks on Wednesday to tout his infrastructure packages — the bipartisan infrastructure package and the Democrats sweeping infrastructure package — that Democratic leadership is working to get across the finish line.
He said the package has “billions of dollars for ports” and would transform ports, highways, and rail systems that “sorely need upgrading.”
“In order to be globally competitive, we need to improve our capacity to make things here in America while also moving finished products across the country and around the world,” he said. “We need to think big and bold. That’s why I’m pushing for a once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure and our people with my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better Act.”