President Joe Biden Thanks Truckers for Keeping Economy Going During Speech in Front of Big Rigs at White House

by TK Sanders

President Joe Biden thanked truckers and the supply chain industry Monday during a planned speech in front of three big rigs parked on the White House lawn. He also touted his own efforts to improve the supply chain as the world wrestles with materials shortages and longer-than-normal wait times for deliveries.

At a glance

  • Speaking about the big rigs, Biden said he wished he could drive one of those “suckers”
  • In conjunction with both Labor and Transportation departments, states began issuing special trucking licenses to young people this year to shore up the sector’s workforce

The pro-trucker rally comes just days after the “People’s Convoy,” a collection of American truckers which drove from California to Washington, D.C., to protest mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, dispersed. The convoy left its temporary base last week in Western Maryland. Organizers said they will drive back to California, but will continue protesting health-related bills within the industry.

During his speech, Biden said he wished he could drive one of these “suckers,” and reminisced about his first time meeting a female trucker he called “Big Momma.” Biden also thanked the drivers, unions, and labor representatives for keeping American moving, “because that’s literally what you’re doing,” the Daily Mail reports.

“You all quit, everything comes to a halt,” Biden said to truck drivers. “I thought I was gonna get to drive one of these suckers today.”

The President, who called himself a “car guy,” spoke romantically of the parked trucks behind him. He even climbed up on the stairs of one of the trucks to get a look inside.

Fixing Supply Chain Issues: Will Joe Biden’s Special Licenses for Younger Drivers Do the Trick?

The appearance served to show the administration’s dedication to fixing the supply chain. During his speech, Biden made sure to tout his new trucker hiring policies. One of those policies will grant special licenses to drivers younger than previously allowed by law.

The Department of Transportation and Department of Labor worked together within the confines of the infrastructure bill to grant the special licenses. According to the White House, states have issued more than 876,000 of those special licenses since Jan. 2021.

While the bill has led to hundreds of thousands of licenses for younger drivers, the trucking industry, however, is likely in need of massive reformation. Changes may be necessary both at the state and federal levels in order to remain healthy; not just an influx of newer, greener drivers to band-aid the wound. One glaring issue is the current turnover rate for long-haul truckers. Notably, the American Trucking Associations reported that turnover rates at larger companies were at 96 percent during the third quarter of last year.

Despite the ongoing issues, trucking employment now exceeds pre-pandemic levels by 35,000 jobs, according to the government. Supply chain economists estimate that truckers move over 70 percent of the goods in the U.S. economy. The COVID-19 pandemic also led to labor shortages within the industry.