- The White House has explored using the National Guard to alleviate stress on the supply chain.
- The idea is unlikely to be implemented at this time, though it is not off the table, per reports.
- Last week, President Joe Biden announced a 90-day sprint, which included extending hours at ports.
Citing multiple people with knowledge of the matter, The Washington Post reports that the White House is unlikely to deploy the National Guard at this time. Though, a source familiar with the issue told CNN that the Biden administration has not eliminated the National Guard as a potential solution.
When asked whether the government would consider sending the National Guard to help unload cargo ships in Southern California or help ease a national shortage of truck drivers, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that the Administration has not taken “options off the table.” Similarly, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told NBC that the National Guard has not been ruled out as a potential solution.
“I think that any opportunity to make a difference will be looked at,” Buttigieg said over the weekend.
If deployed, the National Guard could help move cargo off backlogged ships in ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, through bottlenecks at warehouses and railroads, as well as drive trucks to deliver the goods.
Last week, President Joe Biden engaged with a series of meetings with port officials and major retailers like Walmart. During a meeting with Consumer Brands Association, its CEO, Geoff Freeman, asked the White House to use the National Guard as a part of its 90-day effort to alleviate the supply-chain crisis, CNN reported.
The White House’s willingness to explore the option highlights how seriously the group is about the issue which has left store shelves empty and created record backlogs throughout the supply chain. The National Guard has been used as a band-aid solution throughout the pandemic, helping address bus-driver shortages and distribute vaccines.
Whether the White House chooses to use the National Guard to address the supply-chain crisis will likely depend on the success of Biden’s plan. The plan includes extended hours for backlogged ports in Southern California, as well as longer hours for major companies like Walmart, FedEx, and UPS.
Since it was launched last week, the White House’s 90-day sprint has done little to address the supply-chain issues. On Monday, the largest ports in the US hit a fresh record as 100 ships waited to dock and unload.
Logistics experts have been skeptical about whether Biden’s plan will have a real impact, as it fails to address issues outside of the port delays, including a shortage of space and workers at warehouses and railroads, as well as national shortage of truck drivers.
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