Biden to Congress in Portland: Get moving on semiconductors
President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would provide billions for semiconductor research and manufacturing, some of which could come to Intel's Oregon operations.
"I am calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan innovation bill and make more of these (semiconductor) chips at home to speed up the supply chain," he said on his brief stop in Portland last week.
Biden said he was approached by Intel's board chairman, Omar Ishrak, who has already announced a multibillion commitment to a new manufacturing plant in Ohio.
"If you guys pass and get this other bill to my desk, he is prepared to invest another $100 billion in that same facility," he said at a political pep rally for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which he signed Nov. 15, 2021.
"We invented the damn things. It's not a joke. All that change has come from American technology and we don't even make them anymore. But now things are changing."
Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is Oregon's largest private employer with more than 20,000 employees.
The Senate and House passed differing versions of legislation that would furnish billions for semiconductor research and manufacturing. Much of the latter has moved to factories in Asia — including U.S. economic rival China — but supply-chain delays resulting from the coronavirus pandemic have slowed production. In turn, the shortages have resulted in delays in the making of cars and trucks and other products in the United States.
Two Oregon lawmakers are among the congressional negotiators appointed to resolve differences in the legislation. Sen. Ron Wyden is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade legislation. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici sits on the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Biden did not single out Oregon's Intel operations, which consists of four campuses in Hillsboro and Aloha, or the roles of Wyden and Bonamici.
The Senate version (S 1260) passed on a 68-32 bipartisan vote back on June 8, 2021. The House passed its version (HR 4521) on a 222-210 vote, mostly along party lines, on Feb. 4. The House called for a joint House-Senate negotiating panel earlier in April.
The Senate version enables U.S. customs officials to crack down on imports made with forced labor, gives the Commerce Department $10 billion in grants for cities to establish themselves as regional technology hubs, and update trade rules to ensure fairness in a variety of ways.
The House version includes some of Bonamici's proposals to deal with the effects of climate change on oceans, improvement workforce development and promote education in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).
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