President Biden: “Maria was tireless in getting this bill through the Senate”
Cantwell: “This groundbreaking represents the commitment we made in the CHIPS & Science Act”
Today, President Joe Biden traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to celebrate the groundbreaking of Intel’s new semiconductor manufacturing plant. The company’s expansion marks the first major investment in domestic microchip manufacturing directly linked to the passage of the CHIPS & Science Act, championed by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and signed into law on Aug. 9.
“This groundbreaking represents the commitment we made in the CHIPS & Science Act: to grow good paying jobs in the United States. Intel’s $20 billion plant will employ more than 3,000 people and its partnership with the National Science Foundation will quickly put more than $10 million into workforce development at community colleges across the country and into scholarships for semiconductor education,” said Sen. Cantwell. “We cannot afford to get left behind in designing and manufacturing the next generation of chips, or in educating the semiconductor workforce. That’s why I fought so hard to get this law over the finish line.”
President Biden during the groundbreaking ceremony thanked lawmakers for working to pass the bill, including Sen. Cantwell: “While she couldn’t be here, Maria Cantwell also deserves a lot of credit. She’s the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee from the State of Washington. Maria was tireless in getting this bill through the Senate.
Intel had previously announced its plans to build a new semiconductor manufacturing plant in Ohio at the beginning of the year. But in July, CEO Pat Gelsinger warned that the company would delay its plans to break ground on the $20 billion site if Congress was unable to pass the CHIPS & Science Act, which included a $76 billion federal investment to spur domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
In a March 2022 hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, Gelsinger told Sen. Cantwell that vital industries of the future including autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and advanced mRNA sequencing all hinge on access to high-performance semiconductors.
“All of these depend on the most advanced technologies available, they need the highest performance computing at the lowest power capabilities to process these most advanced algorithms,” Gelsinger said. “Those kinds of capabilities … will define the future competitiveness of industries globally.”
The CHIPS & Science Act went on to pass the Senate 64-33 and the House 243-187. Shortly after the bill passed Congress, several companies including Intel, Micron, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries announced plans to build new chip manufacturing facilities in the United States.
Sen. Cantwell was a key architect of the CHIPS & Science Act. She led the conference committee of more than 100 House and Senate members charged with reconciling a final version of the bill, rallied lawmakers to ensure the package contained the largest-ever federal investments in innovation and science, and joined President Biden for the signing ceremony at the White House last month.
The package invests $76 billion to develop the next generation of semiconductor technologies and to re-establish U.S. strengths in semiconductor manufacturing: $52 billion for competitive grants to spur domestic semiconductor manufacturing, plus a 25 percent investment tax credit for domestic semiconductor manufacturing worth an estimated $24 billion.
Semiconductors are the oil of the 21st century – they’re found in a huge variety of products, from vehicles, medical devices, and cell phones to advanced national security technology. Currently, only 12% of chips are manufactured in the United States, down from 37% in the 1990s.