President Joe Biden has attempted to shift the blame of the supply chain crisis to retailers and private sectors, adding that it could threaten to disrupt the U.S holiday season and “clog” the system nationwide. The Biden administration announced a plan for important ports on the Coast to work “around the clock” in an effort to address the problems.
The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach make up about 40% of the shipping containers entering the country and said they would move to 24/7 operations to keep the facilities open and clear out the emerging bottlenecks to the economic recovery. The White House said they would take “immediate action” to clear out the ports and help families, workers, and businesses get the goods they need in time for the holiday season.
As the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart announced they would increase night-time hours and the containers at the port. But former Walmart CEO Bill Simon admits that the supply chain has been an absolute mess “from start to finish” and that he finds the whole situation really unprecedented. He said there has not only been backed up ports, but also a shortage of truck drivers and labor in the distribution. He also said there is a shortage of people to put it on the shelves and unload at the docks, but other than that “everything is going pretty well.”
Simon led Walmart from 2010 to 2014 and said he’s never seen the shelves like this before, adding that no one else living in this country has either. Social media users have taken pictures of empty store shelves and posted them while captioning it, “Bare Shelves Biden.”
The situation has gotten progressively worse, with President and CEO of the National Retail Federation Matthew Shay noting that the supply chain crisis has affected over 97% of American retailers. He insisted that they have an opportunity to discuss the impact that the issues are having, as well as solutions to address the current disruptions. He told Biden that he needs to show “strong leadership” in resolving these key issues before the holiday season.
Shay went on to add that they needed to work with transportation officials on a critical component of our nation’s ports and freight movement. But Pete Buttigieg, the Department of Transportation Secretary, has been “mostly offline” and on paid paternity leave for months after adopting twins. He has not returned to his job amid a supply chain crisis that is causing financial distress for Americans throughout the course of their days.
Even Politico, a left-leaning media source, reports that Buttigieg has been “lying low” as the U.S faces a supply chain crisis and Congress “melts down” over the Infrastructure bill. Buttigieg has been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband and their newly adopted twins.
While the White House insists that Buttigieg has been ramping up activities to assist in the crisis, others have slammed the administration on their silence.
“We’re in the middle of a transportation crisis, and Pete Buttigieg is sitting at home. Meanwhile, cargo boats are unable to dock and shelves are sitting empty. Pete needs to either get back to work or leave the Department of Transportation. It’s time to put American families first,” Sen. Martha Blackburn said.
While everyone is for “work life balance,” being the transportation secretary during a supply chain crisis is not an everyday job but a commitment to the American public. Biden continues to blame things on bigger retailers, consumers, and the pandemic, while his transportation secretary silently sits at home.