Biden tries to inspire confidence in nation's supply chain as holiday season cranks up
President Joe Biden on Wednesday tried reassuring Americans shelves will be stocked this holiday season. The president touted his administration's approach to strengthening the nation's supply chains saying he first took action to speed up operations at ports. Using the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach as examples where 40-percent of goods coming into the U.S. on the west coast come must come through, Biden said he brought together labor and management to cooperate to fill overnight and weekend shifts to keep things moving 24-7. Those same ports have lifted fees for truck drivers who pick up containers on nights and weekends. The Biden Administration is also extending through February, the easing of restrictions to allow truckers to drive more hours when transporting critical supplies like gas, food, and medical supplies. Biden said it's a different time from when past presidents struggled with supply chain problems and high inflation. "This is the first time I've seen where labor and businesses so ready to cooperate," he said. "Because they didn't go through a period of two years of the impacts of a terrible virus that has caused real damage to the world economy. So I think people are in a different state of mind than they were during the Carter years as well as the Nixon years. It's just a different world." On Monday, Biden met with CEOs of major retailers and grocery chains including Walmart, Best Buy, CVS, Samsung, Mattel, Etsy, and QVC. "The CEOs that I met with this week reported that their inventories are up, shelves are well stocked and they're ready to meet the consumer demand for the holidays," Biden said. UPS and FedEx's CEOs told Biden they're on track to deliver more packages than ever. "Now, I can't promise that every person will get every gift they want on time; only Santa Claus can keep that promise," Biden said. Even as the first case of the Covid-19 Omicron variant was detected in the U.S., Biden said it's too soon to know if the emerging variant will thwart progress on repairing supply chains. "You know me; I'm an optimist," Biden said. "What we have seen so far does not guarantee that's the outcome."