President Joe Biden on Wednesday touted his economic agenda in a speech at the Port of Baltimore, saying his plans will help with rising prices after an October reading on inflation came in hotter than expected.
“With the bill we passed last week, and the steps we’re taking to reduce bottlenecks at home and abroad, we’re set to make significant progress,” Biden said, referring to the bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the House, as well as other priorities for his administration such as a new “action plan” for ports, waterways and related facilities.
“Very soon we’re gonna see the supply chain start catching up with demand, so not only will we see more record-breaking job growth, we’ll see lower prices, faster deliveries as well,” the president added. “This work is going to be critical as we implement the infrastructure bill and as we continue to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out by passing the Build Back Better plan.”
The Biden administration’s plan for ports, announced Tuesday, includes alleviating congestion at the Port of Savannah by funding the Georgia Port Authority’s pop-up container yards project, launching programs to modernize ports and marine highways with more than $240 million in grant funding within the next 45 days, identifying construction projects for the Army Corps of Engineers at coastal ports and inland waterways within the next 60 days, and calling for new data standards for goods movement.
In his speech in Maryland’s biggest city on Wednesday, the president said the Port of Baltimore will be getting a $125 million grant to upgrade a key 126-year-old tunnel “so freight trains can come double-stacked through that tunnel.”
The bipartisan infrastructure
bill — approved by the House late Friday and by the Senate in August — provides $17 billion for ports and waterways. It has an overall price tag of about $1 trillion, with around $550 billion in new public-works spending above what already was expected in future federal investments. Biden is scheduled to sign the measure on Monday.
The president and his fellow Democrats now are renewing their focus on their $1.75 trillion social-spending and climate package, with Biden saying he’s confident the House of Representatives will approve his “Build Back Better” plan next week.
Republicans criticized the president’s take on inflation.
“Biden’s trying to convince people that inflation will go away after he spends another $1.75 trillion that we don’t have,” said GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas in a tweet on Wednesday.
“Inflation hurts Americans pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me,” Biden said in a statement shortly after the new release for the consumer price index, or CPI.
“I am travelling to Baltimore today to highlight how my Infrastructure Bill will bring down these costs, reduce these bottlenecks, and make goods more available and less costly,” the president added.