WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden told companies vying with each other for a sharply constrained global supply of semiconductors that he has bipartisan support for government funding to address a shortage that has idled automakers worldwide.
During a White House meeting with CEOs on Monday, Biden read from a letter from 23 senators and 42 House members backing his proposal for $50 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research.
“Both sides of the aisle are strongly supportive of what we’re proposing and where I think we can really get things done for the American people,” Biden said. “Now let me quote from the letter. It says, ‘The Chinese Communist Party is aggressively -- plans to reorient and dominate the semiconductor supply chain,’ and it goes into how much money will be they’re pouring into being able to do that.”
More than a dozen CEOs, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares participated in the virtual summit.
“This isn’t a meeting where we expect a decision or an announcement to come out of,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. But she said the meeting shows the administration is serious about addressing supply-chain constraints and softening the blow for affected companies and workers.
National Economic Council director Brian Deese and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hosted the meeting, with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also participating. Companies invited to join the administration officials included Dell Technologies Inc., Intel Corp., Medtronic Plc, Northrop Grumman Corp., HP Inc., Cummins Inc., Micron Technology Inc., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., AT&T Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., as well as GM, Ford and Alphabet Inc.
The administration officials intended to highlight elements of the president’s proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan that they believe would improve supply chain resilience, a White House official said. The agenda also included discussions about the auto industry’s transition to clean energy, job creation and ensuring U.S. economic competitiveness, the official added.
Many of the lawmakers supporting additional funding for semiconductors want to see the measure in a bill related to China, not as part of Biden’s infrastructure package, as it is now.