Americas

Biden says US heading into holiday season in strong shape

President indicates high prices is byproduct of economy coming back from coronavirus pandemic

Övünç Kutlu   | 01.12.2021
Biden says US heading into holiday season in strong shape

ANKARA

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the country is heading into the holiday season in strong shape despite record inflation and supply chain constraints.

"Every country in the world are grappling with higher prices right now as they recover from the pandemic," he said at a White House news conference. "This is a worldwide challenge, a natural byproduct of a world economy shut down by the pandemic as it comes back to life.”

Biden said he ordered the largest release from the country's strategic petroleum reserve last week to bring down oil prices and asked the Federal Trade Commission to examine if illegal and anti-competitive behavior in the oil and natural gas industries are causing high prices.

He said his administration has enabled partnerships between businesses and the labor force, which include retailers, grocery stores, freight movers, railroads, to ensure shelves are going to be stocked in the US.

After meeting with major retailers, Biden said they reported that inventories are up, shelves are stocked and they are ready to meet consumer demand during the holiday season.

About supply chain constraints, Biden said he talked with the CEOs of UPS and FedEx who said are trying to deliver more packages than ever.

"I can't promise that every person will get every gift they want on time, only Santa Clause can keep that promise," he joked.

Biden said the first thing the administration has done was to speed up operations at American ports, noting that 40% of goods coming to the west coast come from two ports in the state of California -- Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The president also reiterated that the new coronavirus variant omicron is a cause for concern, but not panic.

"We have the best vaccines in the world, the best medicine and the best scientists. We are learning more every single day, and we will fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion," he said.

"The best protection against omicron is getting a booster shot. Right now about 135 million Americans are eligible for booster. But only about 40 million have gotten one this far," he said.

"Tomorrow, I will be putting forward the next steps we will be taking to fight COVID this winter, not with shutdown and lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more," he added.


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