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Biden touts Intel's $20B semiconductor plants as a return to American ingenuity

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Biden touts Intel's $20B semiconductor plants as a return to American ingenuity
President Joe Biden delivers remarks with Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger on the supply of semiconductors in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2022. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 21 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden hailed Friday's announcement by Intel to invest $20 billion to build two semiconductor chip plants in Ohio as a game-changer in returning manufacturing to the United States.

Biden, who shared the stage with Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo for the formal announcement, called on Congress to pass legislation to address the computer chip shortage.

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Intel said it will build two state-of-the-art computer chip factories in rural Ohio near Columbus. The company said a surge in making semiconductors to power a wide range of products has led them to make the investment, along with another $100 million to educational institutions to build a talent pipeline.

Biden called the investment a return to American ingenuity. He said the computer chips were invented in the United States with the help of federal funding and research, but the country had since ceded that leadership to other countries.

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He said he hopes the Intel announcement, along with other past tech announcements like Samsung announcing late last year it would be build its own semiconductor plant in Texas, will start turning the tide.

"To be able to say, 'Made in Ohio' and 'Made in America,' something we used to say 25 or 30 years ago, that's what this is all about," Biden said. "Semiconductors power virtually everything in our lives -- your phone, your car, your refrigerator, your washing machine, the Internet, the electric grid and so much more."

Biden said access to raw materials, which are largely overseas, was something that was "being worked on."

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He hailed the bipartisan support of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, for their work in bringing the Intel plant to Ohio along with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

"We are going to invest in America," Biden said. "We're investing in American workers. Vice President [Kamala] Harris, Secretary Raimondo and our entire team had met with members of both parties of Congress because [manufacturing] is a bipartisan issue. We brought business and labor together to see where we can ramp up production and help resolve bottlenecks."

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Gelsinger said Intel wanted to contribute in a significant way in restoring semiconductor leadership to the United States.

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"Intel's actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come," Gelsinger said in a statement.

The White House said it has been working with Congress and partners to expand chip manufacturing capacity in the United States since the coronavirus created a bottleneck overseas.

"Today's announcement is the latest marker of progress in the Biden-Harris Administration's efforts to ramp up domestic manufacturing for critical goods like semiconductors, tackle near-term supply chain bottlenecks, revitalize our manufacturing base and create good jobs here at home," the White House said in a statement.

In November, Samsung Electronics said it will build a $17 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant in Texas near Austin.

The facility, which is expected to create 2,000 high-tech jobs, will break ground next year and is expected to be in full operation by 2024.

The Ohio facility, which will be built outside of Columbus, is expected to be completed by 2025 and hire some 3,000 people.

Intel said 7,000 will be hired during its construction and it will be one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing sites in the world.

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"Building this semiconductor mega-site is akin to building a small city, which brings forth a vibrant community of supporting services and suppliers," Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel senior vice president of manufacturing, supply chain and operations, said in a statement.

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