WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden reassured Americans on Wednesday that store shelves will be stocked with gifts and food as the United States approaches the holiday season with the threat of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
With Christmas just 24 days away, Biden spoke from the White House and projected confidence store shelves would be stocked this holiday season despite the strong demand for goods and the economy still in flux due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t promise that every person will get every gift they want on time; only Santa Claus can keep that promise,” Biden said. “But we’re heading into a holiday season in very strong shape.”
Data released on Wednesday points to the manufacturing activity rising and hiring improving but shortages of raw materials, labor, and finished products will mean high prices for the average American. There are still concerns over the Omicron variant affecting supplies and holiday shopping.
“If you watched the news recently, you might think the shelves in all our stores are empty across the country, that parents won’t be able to get presents for their children this holiday season,” Biden said. “But here’s the deal: For the vast majority of the country, that’s not what’s happening.”
Biden met with CEOs from Best Buy, Walmart, Food Lion, and Etsy this week and the President said they told him “that their inventories are up, shelves are well stocked and they’re ready to meet the consumer demand for the holidays.”
The President also stressed the high prices are temporary and acknowledged the rising consumer prices that are frustrating Americans across the country.
Biden said his administration is “using every tool available” to address the issue.
“This is a worldwide challenge, a natural by-product for the world economy shut down by the pandemic as it comes back to life,” he said. “Prices are still out of sync as the world comes back. But as we continue to overcome these obstacles, the more price pressures will ease.”
The President directed The Department of Energy to release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — the largest release from the reserve in history in order to help lower the cost at the pump.
“The average weekly price of gasoline in the wholesale market has fallen by about 10%. That’s a drop of 25 cents per gallon. Those savings should reach the American people very soon, and it can’t happen fast enough,” Biden said.