Biden visits a chip factory in Ohio

On Friday, President Joe Biden pointed to a rare bipartisan down payment to boost American manufacturing as he attended the grand opening of a $20 billion Intel computer chip factory in Ohio.

Biden traveled to suburban Columbus to take a victory lap at the plant being built by Intel Corp., which had delayed construction of the facility until Congress passed the bipartisan CHIPS law. and Science Act.

The new law provides $28 billion in incentives for domestic semiconductor production, $10 billion for new chip manufacturing, and $11 billion for research and development. It remains unclear how much, if any, federal funding Intel’s plant will receive.

The funding follows similar efforts by Europe and China to ramp up production of chips, which political leaders see as essential for economic and military competition.

“Friends, we need to make these chips here in America to reduce daily costs and create good jobs,” Biden said. “Industry leaders choose us, the United States, because they see America’s back and America in the lead.”

While touring the construction site, the president chatted with union workers wearing hard hats and noted his own blue-collar credentials, saying, “These are my people, where I’m from.”

In his State of the Union address in March, Biden envisioned the Intel factory as a model for an American economy that revolves around technology, factories and the middle class.

The factory shows how the president is trying to revive American manufacturing nationwide.

Elsewhere in the United States, chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. has committed $15 billion for a factory in Idaho, Corning Inc. will build a fiber optic facility in Arizona and First Solar Inc. plans to build its fourth factory. of solar panels in the Southeast, all announcements that stemmed from Biden administration initiatives.

As part of Biden’s visit on Friday, Intel announced it would provide $17.7 million to colleges and universities in Ohio to develop educational programs focused on the computer chip industry.

The shortage of semiconductors has plagued the US and global economies. It cut production of automobiles, appliances and other goods in a way that fueled high inflation, while creating national security risks as the United States recognized its dependence on vis-à-vis Asia for the production of chips.

The mix of high prices and long expectations for commodities has left many Americans unhappy with Biden’s economic leadership, a political weakness that eased somewhat as gas prices fell and many voters worried about the loss of abortion protections after the Supreme Court. quashed Roe v. Wade.

Lawmakers have designed semiconductor investments to favor areas outside of the more affluent coastal cities where technology dominates. This means that changes will occur in the city of New Albany, Ohio, where the Intel factory is being built, as well as in nearby Johnstown.

Sporting goods store owner and longtime Johnstown resident Don Harvey likes the idea of ​​a company making things in the United States again and also offering potentially well-paying jobs for his five little ones. -children. Intel said the average salary for its 3,000 Ohio employees would be $135,000.

“What an opportunity in my eyes for Ohio and the United States as a whole,” the 63-year-old Harvey said.

Elyse Priest lives in a housing estate just up the road from the factory and recently got a first-hand look at construction watching a massive cloud of dust roll in from the 1,000-acre site being leveled. Priest, 38, also knows the widening of the road and increased traffic will affect her commute to downtown Columbus where she works as a legal assistant.

“I’m afraid I’ll lose the small-town feel I’ve always had and loved in Johnstown,” Priest said. “But I know it will be a greater good for the whole state.”