The White House said Wednesday that it has helped broker an agreement to operate 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operations to the Port of Los Angeles to help ease supply chain bottlenecks and move stranded container ships. part of the effort. Prices are high for US consumers.

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President Joe Biden plans to discuss the agreement during a speech on Wednesday afternoon about supply chain issues that have hampered economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The supply chain problem is linked to the broader inflation challenge facing Biden.

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Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S. as of Monday, with 62 ships at the two ports and 81 waiting to dock and unload, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. .

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Commitments from Longshoremen, the operator of the Port of Los Angeles, and several of the nation’s largest retail and shipping companies are expected to help clear the backlog. Walmart, FedEx and UPS committed to unloads during off-peak hours, making it easier for the LA port to operate nonstop and reducing backlogs. Long Beach Port has been operating 24 hours a day for seven days for the past three weeks.

FILE – Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) cargo ship Daniela, loaded with containers, waits offshore for entry at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif., October 6, 2021. (Photo by Frederick J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images)

Prior to his speech, the Democratic president was to hold a virtual roundtable with the heads of Walmart, FedEx Logistics, UPS, Target, Samsung Electronics North America, Teamsters Union and the US Chamber of Commerce, among other groups.

Republican lawmakers have often blasted Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package for promoting higher prices. A recent analysis released by investment bank Goldman Sachs estimated that “supply-constrained goods” accounted for 80% of this year’s inflation, yet political criticism continues as housing and oil prices add to inflationary pressures.

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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has made inflation one of his central criticisms of Biden, a sign it may be necessary to keep prices under control for Democrats trying to grab congressional seats in next year’s elections. could.

“Democrats’ inflation is so bad that even though the average American worker has received several percentage-point pay increases over the past year, their real purchasing power has been cut,” McConnell said in a Senate speech last week. Said. “Even dollar stores are having to raise their prices. Just ask any American family about their last few trips to the supermarket, gas station, or toy store. Heaven forbid if they find them in the housing market or the toy store.” Had to participate in the auto market. Anytime recently.”

The Biden administration has argued that high inflation is temporary. Yet supply chain issues persisted for months as the economy restarted and after vaccines eased many of the risks from the pandemic.

Economists expect Wednesday’s consumer prices report to show that prices climbed 5.3% from a year earlier, well above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. Atlanta Fed President Rafael Boustik said in Tuesday’s speech that he no longer calls inflation “transient” because he expects this current “episode” of inflation to last until 2022 or longer.

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