Thursday, May 19, 2022

President Biden to Congress: “Pass the Damn Bill”

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President Biden speaks during a manufacturing-themed event in Ohio on Friday. Screenshot via WH.gov

During recent trip to Ohio, the president touted the importance of the Bipartisan Innovation Act, with support from Buckeye State Sens. Rob Portman (R) and Sherrod Brown (D). 

President Joe Biden had two reasons for visiting United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio on Friday. 

The first: To announce a new initiative between some of America’s leading manufacturers and the White House, called Additive Manufacturing (AM) Forward. Described as “a voluntary compact between large, iconic manufacturers and their smaller U.S.-based suppliers,” AM Forward aims to create “more resilient and innovative” supply chains, grow industries and invent and manufacture more goods in the United States, according to the White House.

The second: To urge Congress to finally complete work on the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which is currently in conference between the House and the Senate. The legislation, designed to help the United States compete globally with rivals like China, would invest hundreds of millions of dollars into research and development, and support production for critical sectors like semiconductors. 

Biden noted the bill will make “generational investments” in American ingenuity and bring jobs back to the United States. 

“Every Republican and Democratic member of Congress — most of us agree on this. Pass the damn bill and send it to me,” Biden said. “It’s going to help bring down prices, bring home jobs, and power America’s manufacturing comeback… it’s no wonder the Chinese Communist Party is literally lobbying — paying lobbyists — against this bill passing.” 

Ohio Sens. Rob Portman (R) and Sherrod Brown (D) introduced the president at the event, with both touting the importance of the Bipartisan Innovation Act. The duo also are sponsors of the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0, which would give American workers and companies the trade tools they need to compete globally. 

“If it’s a level playing field and we got the tools, we’ll do just fine – America will do just fine,” Portman noted. 

Biden praised Portman for his bipartisanship, calling him “one of the good guys” and noting the Ohio senator also supported the infrastructure bill that was signed into law late last year. The president also praised Brown, calling him “a real champion” of American workers. 

“My dad used to say, ‘A job’s about a lot more than a paycheck; it’s about your dignity, it’s about your place in your community,’ Biden said. “These guys… care about the dignity of the worker.  And I see things are really beginning to change.  I really believe it.” 

Manufacturing is “the backbone” of America’s economic recovery, Biden said. His speech came on the same day that new jobs figures showed that since Biden took office, 545,000 new factory jobs have been created, the largest 15-month gain since 1985. 

“These manufacturing jobs matter because they fuel our economic growth; they fuel exports, and, as we’ve seen, they fuel innovation – and that is the critically, critically strong economic growth that we need,” Biden said. “And folks, look, in small and large towns across America, they bring quality jobs and middle class jobs to people.” 

Biden said that Ohio is leading the way, pointing to the planned Intel factory near Columbus that will employ at least 7,000 people to make computer chips – and pay an average salary of around $135,000.  

It’s a good start, but if the United States truly wants to seize the moment, investments like those in the Bipartisan Innovation Act are critical, Biden argued. The CEO of Intel told the White House that should the bill pass, the company will increase its Ohio investment from $20 billion to $100 billion. 

“And we Irish say: That’s no malarkey, that’s a fact,” Biden said. “One hundred billion dollars.  Imagine what that’s going to do to — for Ohio, let alone Columbus.  Not a joke.  Think about it.  It’d be staggering. And it will nail down, for generations, the leadership of this state once again, like it used to be 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago.” 

Biden also said that investment in manufacturing and reshoring supply chains will be critical to taking on long-term challenges, including inflation. 

“For the folks at home, you might ask, ‘What does it matter?,’” Biden said. “Well, I know you’re worried about the price of food, gas, and other necessities and why it matters if we make more things in America. Well, it matters a great deal because the pandemic and economic crisis we inherited and Putin’s war in Ukraine have all shown the vulnerability when we become too reliant on things made overseas. We’ve learned the hard way – we can’t fight inflation if the supply chain buckles.”  

The AM Forward initiative is the latest initiative by the White House to strengthen that supply chain, as it will connect large companies like GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Raytheon, and Siemens Energy with smaller U.S. firms, who will be trained and equipped to use additive manufacturing processes like 3D printing to supply the larger companies. 

“These small firms are the foundation of America’s industrial base.  And increasing their capacity — which these big businesses are doing as well — is critical to making more things in America, getting products faster and cheaper and reliably, and outcompeting the rest of the world.  That’s what it’s about,” Biden said. 

Biden noted that success is “within our reach,” but “we’ve got to up our game.”  

“I’ve never been more optimistic — and I mean this sincerely — I’ve never been more optimistic about America than I am today.  Not because I’m President, but because people — everybody is waking up.  It’s a new time. Because of my economic strategy, companies and… jobs are coming home again.  We’re making ‘Buy America’ a reality, not just a slogan… Let’s build the future here in America.  Let’s remember who in God’s name we are.” 

To read more about AM Forward, visit the White House’s fact sheet on the program.  

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