Biden signs industrial policy bill aimed at boosting competition with China
WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday signed into law a sprawling $280 billion bill aimed at bolstering U.S. chip manufacturing to address global supply chain issues and counter China’s growing influence, as part of of a renewed effort by the White House to galvanize its base around a recent list of legislative victories.
Speaking to business leaders and lawmakers in the Rose Garden, Biden said the bill was proof that bipartisanship in Washington could produce legislation that would create a tech sector, attract semiconductor manufacturing to the states United States and would eventually create thousands of new American jobs. .
“A fundamental shift is underway today, politically, economically and technologically,” Biden said. “A change that can either strengthen our sense of control and security, dignity and pride in our lives and our nation, or a change that weakens us.”
The bipartisan compromise showed a rare consensus in a deeply divided Washington, reflecting Republicans’ and Democrats’ sense of urgency for an industrial policy that could help the United States compete with China. Seventeen Republicans voted for the bill in the Senate, while 24 Republicans supported it in the House.
While Republicans have long resisted intervention in global markets and Democrats have criticized the flow of taxpayers’ money to private companies, global supply chain shortages exacerbated by the pandemic have exposed how point the United States had come to depend on foreign countries for advanced semiconductor chips used in technologies such as electric vehicles and weapons sent to help Ukraine.
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In a sign of how Beijing’s growing power has driven negotiations over the legislation, Mr Biden explicitly mentioned China several times during his remarks at the bill signing ceremony.
“It’s no wonder the Chinese Communist Party actively lobbied American companies against this bill,” the president said, adding that the United States should be the world leader in semiconductor production. .
The bill focuses on domestic manufacturing, research and national security, providing $52 billion in grants and tax credits to companies that manufacture chips in the United States. It also includes $200 billion for new manufacturing and scientific research initiatives, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing and other technologies.
The legislation authorizes and funds the creation of 20 “regional technology hubs” that aim to link research universities with private industry with the aim of advancing technological innovation in areas lacking such resources. And it provides funds to the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation for basic semiconductor research and for creating workforce development programs.
“We’re going to bring those jobs back to our shores and end our reliance on foreign chips,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat and Majority Leader, who raised his fists as he headed towards the desk.
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Mr Schumer, who helped lead the measure, at one point alluded to the years-long quest to secure its passage when he noted that it was once called the Endless Frontier Act – one of the rare names of the bill as it progresses. by Congress.
“I still like that name,” Mr. Schumer said.
“I’ve always said Democrats would be willing to work with Republicans when possible,” he added. “And at today’s signing, we celebrate such an achievement.”
Democrats are hoping the passage of industrial policy legislation and a few other notable bills, along with lower gas prices, can help the party turn around ahead of the midterm congressional elections. in November. Democrats faced a bleak outlook heading into the fall, with Mr Biden suffering from dismal approval numbers amid soaring inflation and painful prices at the pumps.
Mr. Biden plans to sign a bill on Wednesday that would expand medical care for veterans exposed to toxic burn outbreaks on military bases, another measure that Congress approved with bipartisan support. And on Friday, the House is expected to pass the climate, health, and tax bill that was approved by the Senate over the weekend, handing the president a legislative triumph that he and the Democratic candidates can highlight in the coming weeks.
The effort to promote the recent winning streak comes after Mr Biden was forced into self-isolation during a bout with Covid-19 followed by a rebound case. He left isolation on Sunday, then traveled on Monday to meet with survivors of the severe flooding in Kentucky, his first work trip since testing positive for the virus on July 21.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Mr. Biden had a persistent cough during his remarks at the Rose Garden. White House officials said he tested negative for the virus on Monday and again on Tuesday morning, extending his streak of negative tests to four straight days.
Mr Biden’s aides now plan to rally support around recent legislative successes by sending cabinet officials across the country to draw attention to the measures – although there is no guarantee their efforts will reshape the political dynamics in the run-up to the November elections.
“There have been ups and downs, and it’s been a long road to get here,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said at the ceremony. “And the president said don’t give up. Do not abandon. Keep on going.”