Biden to press for $37 billion to boost chip manufacturing amid shortfall

 

 President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he would seek $37 billion in funding for legislation to supercharge chip manufacturing in the United States as a shortfall of semiconductors has forced U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to cut production.


Biden also signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at addressing the global semiconductor chip shortage that has alarmed the White House and members of Congress, administration officials said.


The scarcity, exacerbated by the pandemic, was also the subject of a discussion between Biden and a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday.


“I’m directing senior officials in my administration to work with industrial leaders to identify solutions to the semiconductor shortfall,” Biden said on Wednesday. “Congress has authorized a bill but they need ... $37 billion to make sure that we have this capacity. I’ll push for that as well.”


The White House said his remarks were in reference to measures aimed at boosting chip manufacturing capacity that were included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act but which require a separate appropriations process to garner funding.


The chip industry has pressed the Biden administration and Congress to take action to fund the provisions of the law. “We urge the president and Congress to invest ambitiously in domestic chip manufacturing and research,” the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said earlier on Wednesday.

Biden’s executive order launched a 100-day review of supply chains for four critical products: semiconductor chips, large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles, rare earth minerals and pharmaceuticals.


The order also directs six sector reviews, modeled after the process used by the Defense Department to strengthen the defense industrial base. It will be focused on the areas of defense, public health, communications technology, transportation, energy and food production.


The United States has been besieged by supply shortages since the onset of the pandemic, which squeezed the availability of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, hurting frontline workers.


The chip shortage, which in some cases is forcing automakers to take employees off production lines, is the latest example of supply bottlenecks.



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