Supply chain disruptions across the U.S. have left shelves empty as the crucial holiday shopping period approaches.
President Biden announced Wednesday that the Ports of Los Angeles will remain open for 60 extra hours per week to feed in shipments to which "Special Report" host Bret Baier asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, "Is it too little, too late?"
"The president said this has the potential to be a game-changer," Buttigieg said. "It’s going to have to be part of a number of steps."
"A lot of things have to go right but the announcement that these ports would go 24/7, that’s a big part of it."
The secretary referenced a report that indicates the issue does not solely lie in open ports, but also in the availability of trucks and drivers.
Buttigieg added there are also issues with different ports coordinating with each other, urging for the implementation of more data sharing.
When pressed by Baier whether the current situation could have been seen coming, the secretary admitted the administration did notice the supply chain backup approaching and had set for accommodations to be put in place to heighten urgency. Buttigieg mentioned that furthering these efforts includes pushing through the highly-debated infrastructure package that allocates $17 billion to U.S. ports.
Baier pushed the former South Bend, Ind. mayor on why that infrastructure bill remains on Capitol Hill despite its addressing of bridges and ports and having the backing of Republicans – the bill remains stalled as Democrats debate among themselves another, more progressive, bill.
"We very much push for this infrastructure bill," he said. "I’ve worked hard on it. The president has worked hard on it. And the same is true for the Build Back Better agenda – things that most Americans agree on." Buttigieg agreed that Republicans would indeed support infrastructure, but noted the GOP would vote against the Democrats on what has been dubbed "human infrastructure" such as child care, family leave, climate change and such.
With many wondering whether gifts will be in short supply this holiday season, Baier asked Buttigieg whether this should be of concern. Buttigieg noted, "Part of the reason we are where we are is that the president successfully brought this economy out of the teeth of a recession.
"People are buying more than ever before, we're seeing record goods coming through our ports. The demand is there, which is great news. It represents a policy success. Now we've got to make sure those supply chains are there to support."
"So, you're saying that's a high-class problem?" Baier asked.
"What I'm saying is that we are better off because the economy is growing," Buttigieg said, "And the economy is growing thanks to the leadership of this president."