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President Biden used a White House meeting with CEOs discussing an industry shortage of semiconductors to tout his big $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan, by saying that such investments are required to maintain US competitiveness in the global marketplace.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met Monday during a virtual event with CEOs and senior leaders from industries affected by the semiconductor shortage — including representatives from American semiconductor producers, tech companies, automotive manufacturers, and other companies that use semiconductors.
“We’re investing in a more resilient grid, investing — I understand you discussed that a little bit earlier today — investing as well in asbestos-free schools for our kids. That’s investing in infrastructure. Building support systems to take care of our elderly parents and our kids with disabilities at home so that people can go to work. That’s investing in infrastructure. Chips like the one I have here, these chips, these wafers, or batteries, broadband, it’s all infrastructure,” Biden said during his participation in the roundtable. “This is infrastructure. So look, we need to build the infrastructure of today, not repair the one of yesterday. And the plan I propose is going to create millions of jobs, rebuild America, protect our supply chains, and revitalize American manufacturing. It’s going to make American research and development a great engine again.”
Biden said that his infrastructure plan would include investments in R&D that would keep the United States as competitive into the future, as it was through much of the 20th century when great innovations came to fruition.
“We led the world in the middle of the 20th century. We led the world toward the end of the century. We’re gonna lead the world again. We’re gonna lead it again in the 21st century,” he said. “We have the best minds in the country, many of them are on the screen right now, and they know better than anyone that our competitiveness depends on where you invest and how you invest.
“For too long as a nation, we haven’t been making the big, bold investments we need to outpace our global competitors. We’ve been falling behind on research and development and manufacturing,” Biden added. “And to put it bluntly, we have to step up our game. And I’m not ready to give up. I’m ready to work with all of you, with the Congress, both parties, to pass American Jobs Plan and to make a once-in-a-generation investment in America’s future.”
Outside of Monday’s roundtable, reaction from business to Biden’s infrastructure program has been mixed. On the one hand, they applaud the investments — but eschew the tax increases Biden’s proposed to help pay for the proposals.
That’s certainly the case for one of Washington’s biggest business trade groups, the NAM, which represents US manufacturers.
“To be sure, President Biden’s proposal on infrastructure investment is strong, necessary and welcome. Achieving our shared goals will be the result of debate, discussion and collaboration with the administration and both parties in Congress,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “We can achieve the President’s investment objectives while holding firm against financing proposals that would severely harm the ability of manufacturers to invest and hire workers here in the U.S. We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders to achieve an outcome that benefits all economic sectors and all Americans.”
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