Biden Urges Congress to Pass Chips Bill as Global Shortage Persists


© Bloomberg. An employee handles a 300 millimetre silicon wafer in the clean rooms at the Globalfoundries fabrication (fab) plant in Dresden, Germany, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. The EU outlined a goal last year to produce at least one-fifth of the world’s chips and microprocessors by value, without giving details on how this would be achieved. Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg


(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden praised Intel Corp (NASDAQ:). for plans to build a new semiconductor plant in Ohio and urged Congress to pass stalled legislation that would provide $52 billion for chip research and manufacturing in the U.S. amid a global shortage.

“I want other cities and states to be able to make announcements like the one being made here today,” Biden said Friday at the White House, flanked by Intel Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger. “And that’s why I want to see Congress pass this bill right away and get it to my desk.”

The Biden administration has been pushing to bring more chip manufacturing to the U.S. to alleviate a shortage that stems from increased demand and supply chain kinks linked to the pandemic. But there have been few tangible results.

A lack of chips has caused production delays for consumer electronics and automobiles, and led to furloughs. The price for used cars, in large part due to a shortage of chips, continues to be a component of surging inflation.

Biden’s comments came after Intel said Friday it plans to spend $20 billion on a chipmaking hub on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, which the company expects to grow to be the world’s biggest silicon-manufacturing site. The plant is expected to be operational by 2025.

“Most semiconductors today are sourced overseas,” Gelsinger said at the White House. “As a country, we cannot rely solely on imports for such essential technology. And the only way to address this economic and security risk is to increase our domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity.”

Even as Biden has taken a hit for all the broader supply-chain troubles across the economy, he has been slow to press for passage of legislation that includes funding for chips. Biden and other officials including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo have signaled the overall need to boost domestic output.

Biden and his administration have had few options to help alleviate the supply crunch. None of the new facilities announced in the last year will solve the problem in the short- or medium-term, and analysts expect the current shortage to last into next year.

Samsung (LON:) Electronics (OTC:) Co. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are also expanding their investments in the U.S. The companies are hoping to build the new fabs with funding from the legislation that has stalled in the House, known as the CHIPS Act.

The legislation that includes the chips money passed the Senate with bipartisan support last June. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House is poised to announce its own version of the bill and will soon start the process of reconciling any differences with the Senate proposal.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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