Biden touts computer chips bill in battleground Ohio amid tight Senate race

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden traveled to Ohio on Friday for the groundbreaking of Intel’s new semiconductor manufacturing facility near Columbus, where he highlighted planned projects and the law he signed that boosts computer chip production.

“The industrial Midwest is back,” Biden said in a speech, arguing that the package, known as “CHIPS-plus,” would help usher in a new economic era for parts of the country. “It’s time to bury the label ‘Rust Belt.’”

Biden visited the Licking County facility, which is expected to have at least two semiconductor manufacturing plants that a senior White House official said will be built by union labor, creating more than 7,000 construction jobs and 3,000 full-time jobs producing the chips. 

Intel also announced it has given $17.7 million to Ohio colleges and universities to develop education and workforce programs focused on semiconductors as part of its $50 million research program for the industry in the state. Intel and the National Science Foundation are also planning to invest $100 million in similar programs nationwide.

The president’s visit comes after he signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law in mid-August. Proponents of the measure say that manufacturing microchips domestically — rather than relying on chipmakers in China, Taiwan and elsewhere — is critical to U.S. national security, especially when it comes to chips used for weapons and military equipment.

The package also includes tens of billions of dollars more in authorizations for science and research programs, as well as regional technology hubs around the country.

Biden’s visit to Ohio, which twice voted for Donald Trump for president and Barack Obama before him, is one of several he’s made to states with close midterm election races that could determine the balance of power in Congress in November.

Ohio’s Senate race has been one to watch, with Republican J.D. Vance running to fill the open seat against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan.

The Cook Political Report rates the race as leaning Republican.

Mike Memoli and Lauren Egan contributed.

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