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Biden says inflation is "worrisome" in speech at Port of Baltimore

Biden touts infrastructure bill at Port of Baltimore
Biden says recently passed infrastructure bill will help ease U.S. shipping gridlock 07:58

President Biden acknowledged the soaring inflation rate in a speech Wednesday at the Port of Baltimore that was meant to tout his infrastructure and social spending plans.

"The American people, in the midst of an economic crisis, that recovery is showing strong results, but not to them," Mr. Biden said. "They're still looking out there. Everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more. And it's worrisome, even though wages are going up."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday that consumer prices increased 6.2% from the same time period one year ago, the highest monthly increase since the George H.W. Bush administration. Inflation rates have been steadily increasing since April, coupled with the increasing supply chain and labor shortages. 

The White House insisted in a statement Wednesday that taming inflation is a "priority" for the administration. 

President Biden Discusses The Infrastructure Deal At Port Of Baltimore
 U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the recently passed $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at the Port of Baltimore on November 10, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. President Biden will sign the bill next week, where he plans to bring Democrats and Republicans to the White House for a ceremony to mark the bipartisan bill's passage. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

"Many people remain unsettled about the economy, and we all know why," Mr. Biden said in Baltimore. "They see higher prices. They go to the store online, or … go online and they can't find what they always want and when they want it. And we're tracking these issues and trying to figure out how to tackle them head on."

Mr. Biden said he has spoken to CEOs of major retailers, such as Walmart and Target, and leading freight movers UPS and FedEx. "They assured me that the shelves will be stocked in stores this holiday because they signed on to 24/7 as well," Mr. Biden said. "They signed on to 24/7."

Mr. Biden had been scheduled to speak in Baltimore in a continued push for his infrastructure bill, which passed the House last week after stalling for months after passing the Senate. Mr. Biden is expected to sign it next week.

Mr. Biden insisted that "by investing in our roads, our bridges, our ports and so much else, this bill is going to make it easier for companies to get goods to market more quickly."

"You've heard me say it before: Infrastructure — infrastructure used to be rated, in the United States, as the best in the world when I got to the Congress," Mr. Biden said. "But today, according to the World Economic Forum, you know where we rank in infrastructure?  Thirteenth in the world. Twelve countries in the world have more modern, efficient infrastructure than the United States of America."

But the House has yet to pass his social spending plan, which was initially supposed to be voted on along with the infrastructure plan. Democratic leaders have spent weeks haggling with their colleagues over the size and scope of the package, working to bridge the gaps between a pair of moderate Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and progressives in the House. Unlike the infrastructure plan, the social spending plan is unlikely to get the support of any Republicans, so it will have to advance in the Senate through a process called reconciliation that only requires 50 votes to pass.

Fin Gomez contributed to this report.

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