Biden says prices are too high in trip touting efforts to combat inflation

By Andrea Shalal

BALTIMORE (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden aimed to showcase his inflation-taming efforts in a visit to Baltimore on Wednesday, saying prices at stores nationwide are simply too high as inflation hit a level not seen for more than 30 years.

“Consumer prices remain too high,” Biden said after fresh data showed inflation racing at its fastest annual pace in three decades as he vowed to “tackle” the problem “head-on.”

The Labor Department on Wednesday reported that U.S. consumer prices accelerated 6.2% in the 12 months through October, marking the largest year-on-year jump since November 1990.

The carefully chosen backdrop for Biden’s visit was the Port of Baltimore, one of the nation’s busiest.

Port congestion has been a major source of supply shortfalls in the U.S. economy, but they stand to benefit from billions in funding from the $1 trillion infrastructure package https://www.reuters.com/world/us/roads-bridges-airports-details-bidens-1-trillion-infrastructure-bill-2021-11-05 that passed on Friday with bipartisan support after months of negotiations.

The Democratic president, whose popularity has sagged in recent months as economic concerns mount, is hoping to convince voters that Democrats delivered on campaign promises to invest in the United States’ future ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections, when the party will seek to defend its thin majorities in Congress.

His administration’s efforts have included working with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to move goods around the clock, and new plans announced yesterday to relieve congestion at the Port of Savannah.

The infrastructure package includes $17 billion in investments https://www.reuters.com/world/us/white-house-looks-move-quickly-17-bln-revamp-us-ports-2021-11-09 to help ports, including dredging to allow for larger ships and capacity expansion. A separate roughly $1.75 trillion proposal will expand the country’s social safety net and fight climate change.

The Port of Baltimore imports and exports more autos, farm machinery and construction equipment than any other U.S. port. It employs more than 15,300 people.

Improvements at the Baltimore port, which can accommodate some of the largest container ships in the world, have helped alleviate congestion at other East Coast ports, the White House said.

(Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia; Writing by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)

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