Psaki Asked If the Federal Gov't Can 'Guarantee' That 'Holiday Packages Will Arrive on Time'


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is not making any guarantees about whether holiday packages will be on time this year as the administration tries to smooth out bottlenecks at ports.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe asked, “Based on everything being announced today, can this administration guarantee that holiday packages will arrive in time?”

“We are not the Postal Service or UPS or FedEx. We cannot guarantee. What we can do is use every lever at the federal government’s disposal to reduce delays,” Psaki responded.

She added, “To ensure that we are addressing bottlenecks in the system, including ports and the need for them to be open longer hours so that goods can arrive. And we can continue to press not only workers and unions but also companies to take as many steps as they can to reduce these delays.”

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Citing issues with the supply chain, an unnamed White House official told Reuters on Tuesday, “There will be things that people can’t get.”

“At the same time, a lot of these goods are hopefully substitutable by other things. … I don’t think there’s any real reason to be panicked, but we all feel the frustration, and there’s a certain need for patience to help get through a relatively short period of time,” the official added.

In August, the White House named John Porcari as an “envoy” to ports. As Reuters notes, “The administration has worked to make sure various parts of the supply chain, such as ports and intermodal facilities, where freight is transferred from one form of transport to another, are in steady communication.”

“Now it is focused on getting ports and other transportation hubs to operate on a 24-hour schedule, taking advantage of off-peak hours to move more goods in the pipeline. California ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles have agreed to extended hours, and there are more to follow,” the outlet added.

President Joe Biden will meet with retail and delivery CEOs as the White House is expected to announce measures to address the supply chain bottlenecks.

As of Wednesday, there were 500,000 containers waiting to get into the Los Angeles port. Reuters explains that the supply chain bottleneck is “driven in part by the global COVID-19 pandemic, as sales of durable goods jumped amid worker shortages and transportation hub slowdowns.”

Correction [10/14/21, 8:20 a.m. ET]: Previously, this story inaccurately stated there were 500,000 container ships. We have corrected the error.

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