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Biden Signs Industrial Policy Bill to Boost Competition with China

WASHINGTON — President Biden signed into law on Tuesday a massive $280 billion bill intended to bolster U.S. chip manufacturing to address global supply chain problems and counter China’s rising influence, part of a renewed effort of the White House for its base around a recent list of legislative victories.

Standing before business leaders and lawmakers in the Rose Garden, Mr. Biden said the bill was proof that duality in Washington could produce legislation that would build a tech sector, lure semiconductor manufacturing back to the United States, and eventually thousands. would create new American jobs.

“There are fundamental changes happening today, politically, economically and technologically,” said Mr Biden. “Change that can strengthen our sense of control and security, of dignity and pride in our lives and our nation, or change that weakens us.”

The bipartisan compromise showed a rare consensus in deeply divided Washington, reflecting the sense of urgency among Republicans and Democrats alike for an industrial policy that could help the United States compete with China. Seventeen Republicans voted for the bill in the Senate, while 24 Republicans supported it in the House.

While Republicans have long resisted intervening in global markets and Democrats have criticized pouring taxpayers’ money into private companies, global supply chain shortages exacerbated by the pandemic showed how much the United States had come to rely on foreign countries for advanced semiconductor chips used in technologies as varied as electric vehicles and weapons sent to help Ukraine.

As a sign of how Beijing’s rise has driven negotiations for the legislation, Mr Biden explicitly mentioned China several times during his remarks at the bill’s signing ceremony.

“It’s no wonder that the Chinese Communist Party actively lobbied corporate America against this bill,” the president said, adding that the United States should be the world leader in semiconductor manufacturing.

The bill targets domestic manufacturing, research and national security and provides $52 billion in subsidies and tax credits to companies that manufacture chips in the United States. It also includes $200 billion for new manufacturing initiatives and scientific research, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing and other technologies.

The legislation authorizes and funds the creation of 20 “regional technology hubs” intended to connect research universities and private industry in an effort to foster technological innovation in areas lacking such resources. And it provides funding to the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation for basic semiconductor research and for developing workforce development programs.

“We will return these jobs to our shores and end our reliance on foreign chips,” said New York Democrat and Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer, who clenched his fists as he stepped to the lectern.



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Mr. Schumer, who helped lead the measure, at one point alluded to years of quest to ensure its passage when he noted that it had once been called the Endless Frontier Act — one of a handful of names for the bill as it made its way found through Congress.

“I still like that name,” said Mr. Schumer.

“I’ve always said that Democrats would be willing to work with Republicans whenever possible,” he added. “And in today’s signing, we celebrate such an achievement.”

Democrats hope the passage of industrial policy legislation and a few other noteworthy bills, along with falling gas prices, could turn the party around in the run-up to November’s midterm congressional elections. Democrats have faced a bleak outlook heading into the fall, with Mr Biden suffering dismal approval numbers amid soaring inflation and painful prices at the pump.

Biden plans to sign a bill Wednesday that would expand medical care for veterans exposed to toxic fire pits on military bases, another measure that Congress has approved with bipartisan support. And on Friday, the House is expected to pass the climate, health and tax bill that the Senate passed this weekend, giving the president a legislative triumph that he and the Democratic candidates can highlight in the coming weeks.

The attempt to promote the recent streak of wins comes after Mr Biden had to isolate himself during a battle with Covid-19, followed by a rebound case. He left isolation on Sunday and then traveled on Monday to meet survivors of the severe flooding in Kentucky, his first work trip since testing positive for the virus on July 21.

At the ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Biden had a persistent cough during his remarks in the rose garden. White House officials said he tested negative for the virus Monday and Tuesday morning, extending his run of negative tests to four consecutive days.

Biden’s aides now plan to garner support around recent legislative successes by sending cabinet officials across the country to draw attention to the measures – although there’s no guarantee their efforts will boost political dynamics towards the November elections will change.

“There were ups and downs, and it was a long road to get here,” said Gina Raimondo, the trade secretary, during the ceremony. “And the president said, ‘Don’t give up. Do not give up. Keep it up.”

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