Biden Says Reversing Inflation 'Trend' Is 'Top Priority' as He Touts Infrastructure Deal

In the wake of the United States being hit with its highest inflation rate in three decades, President Joe Biden is looking toward the newly passed infrastructure deal to get things back on track.

Biden has arrived in Baltimore to discuss the new deal and the benefits that it can bring both the city and the nation at large. He hopes that the infrastructure deal, which is set to emphasize global supply chain issues, can begin relieving these skyrocketing rates.

In a statement, Biden said that "reversing this trend is a top priority" for him and his administration moving forward. He also said that his current Baltimore trip will allow him to explain how the new bill will "make goods more available and less costly," hopefully reducing inflation.

This could be an uphill battle, however. Prices in October climbed a staggering 6.2 percent from a year ago, resulting in the highest inflation rate the U.S. has seen since 1990. This inflation has also significantly hurt Biden in recent approval polls.

Making these statements specifically in the city of Baltimore carries a lot of weight. Former President Donald Trump had famously scorned the city, calling it a "disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess" and "the worst in the nation." However, Biden is counting on the city's massive port system to kickstart the effects of the new infrastructure plan. According to the Associated Press, the package had set aside $17 billion to upgrade ports across the country, especially Baltimore's. The Howard Street Tunnel is expected to expand under the package, which could make transferring goods out of the port easier.

Biden is expected to give remarks at the Port of Baltimore today at 4:10 p.m. EST.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Port of Baltimore
President Joe Biden was in Baltimore, Maryland to talk about new infrastructure deal. A truck driver passes stacked cargo containers at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 14. Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images

The city is the first stop Wednesday in what probably will be a national tour to showcase his agenda.

The president intends to emphasize how the spending can strengthen global supply chains to help lower prices, reduce shortages and add union jobs, according to a White House official.

Biden plans to hold up Baltimore's port as a blueprint on how to reduce shipping bottlenecks that have held back the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, who consulted with the CEOs of Walmart, Target, FedEx and UPS on Tuesday, plans to emphasize that these investments are part of a national effort to relieve supply chain bottlenecks in ways that can aid broader growth.

His administration also announced new investments to reduce congestion at the Port of Savannah in Georgia, nearly a month after the administration helped broker a deal for the Port of Los Angeles to operate nonstop.

The president has been trying to explain that the port congestion shows just how strong the economic rebound from the pandemic has been. A forecast by the National Retail Federation suggests a record level of imports this year.

Nearly 90 percent of voters in Baltimore, Maryland's largest city at 586,000 people, backed Biden in last year's election. The president last stopped in the city for a CNN town hall on October 21.

Baltimore embodies the complexities of an increasingly diverse America at a time of heated national politics.

Many Americans have seen the poverty, crime, political corruption and vacant rowhouses on TV shows such as HBO's The Wire. The unrest following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries in a police van helped to propel a national movement for respecting the rights and lives of Black Americans.

But Baltimore also contains deep pockets of wealth and prosperity in what is a microcosm of the broader inequality confronting the nation. There are the mansions of the Guilford neighborhood, elite private schools, celebrated restaurants and the prestige of Johns Hopkins University.

But while Trump scorned Baltimore, Biden sees a test case for his agenda that goes beyond the ports. His child tax credits are sending thousands of dollars to families in a city with a child poverty rate north of 30 percent. Work has begun to renovate and modernize the historic Penn Station, possibly improving rail transit across the Northeast.

A big part of Biden's pitch is that he succeeded on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, whereas Trump failed.

Biden said Tuesday at a virtual event hosted by the Democratic National Committee that Trump never delivered for the country's cities and ports.

"So it was left to us," he said. "We got the job done."

Biden Infrastructure
When he was in the White House, Donald Trump referred to Baltimore as a "disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess." President Joe Biden speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the State Dining Room of the White House, on November 6, in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon