President Joe Biden on Friday celebrated the groundbreaking of a new Intel factory in Ohio to produce semiconductors, tying the major investment directly to a bipartisan bill he signed into law last month to fund the chips.
Biden visited Licking County, near Columbus, to join state and federal officials from both parties to tout the economic benefits of the $20 billion facility. Biden and business leaders on hand for the groundbreaking argued it was a sign of a shifting economy in the region.
“It’s time to bury the label ‘Rust Belt,’” Biden said, instead suggesting the area should be rebranded as the “Silicon Heartland.”
A senior White House official said the Intel facility is expected to create 7,000 construction jobs and 3,000 full-time jobs producing semiconductors, which are small computer chips used in numerous appliances, automobiles, computers and other products.
White House officials have warned for months that the U.S. was at risk of becoming dependent on semiconductors produced overseas, which would further stress the supply chain.
“We need to make these chips right here in America to bring down everyday costs and create good jobs,” Biden said in remarks at the site of the future production facility.
Biden last month signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act, which passed with bipartisan support and includes more than $50 billion in incentives for manufacturers to build domestic semiconductor plants. It also includes more than $80 billion for the National Science Foundation authorized over five years to support innovation and research.
Biden was joined Friday by both Republican and Democratic elected officials from Ohio, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), Rob Portman (R) and Gov. Mike DeWine (R). Biden recognized Portman, who is retiring at the end of his term in January, “for being a gentleman and showing Democrats and Republicans can work together.”
The race to replace Portman is between Rep. Tim Ryan (D) and Republican J.D. Vance, who has the backing of former President Trump. Ryan has tried to maintain distance from Biden as polls show the race to be closer than many expected.