‘We met the moment’: Biden starts week of celebrations with $52bn chip bill signing

‘We met the moment’: Biden starts week of celebrations with $52bn chip bill signing
Mr Biden will also sign a resolution giving US assent to Finland and Sweden’s applications to join Nato on Tuesday

President Joe Biden kicked off what is set to be a week of celebrating in the halls of the West Wing with a celebratory bill signing to make the CHIPS and Science Act — bipartisan legislation that will inject approximately $50 billion into the US semiconductor industry — the law of the land.

The celebration on the South Lawn of the White House was Mr Biden’s first large-scale appearance since ending a week of isolation following a rebound of his Covid-19 infection. Joined by many of the House and Senate members who’d shepherded the legislation, which is meant to boost US competitiveness vis-à-vis China by onshoring manufacture of semiconductors that go into cars, computers, mobile phones and all manner of devices, through Congress.

Mr Biden called the legislation a “once in a generation investment in America itself” and said the funds it disburses would help bring inflation down by lowering costs for manufactured products that rely on semiconductors.

“Folks need to make these chips here in America to bring down everyday costs and create jobs,” he said. Mr Biden added that industry leaders will see the investment in chip manufacturing as a sign that “America is back”.

He added that bringing back chip fabrication to the US would aid the national defence by shortening the supply chain for key parts used in weapons systems such as the Javelin anti-tank missiles, and noted that the Chinese government had actively lobbied against the bill.

“The United States must lead the world in the production of these advanced chips. This law will do exactly that,” he said.

The signing of the CHIPS and Science Act is just the first of several celebratory ceremonies Mr Biden will participate in this week.

Mr Biden will also put his signature to the paperwork giving American approval to Finland and Sweden’s application to become the 31st and 32nd members of Nato on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he will sign into law the Honouring Our PACT Act, which authorises yet more funds to treat US military veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their service.

The president is also soon expected to be able to sign the Inflation Reduction Act, which will authorise the largest-ever US investment in stopping climate change and fulfil a major promise from his 2020 campaign by reducing US greenhouse emissions by 40 per cent.

“I’m confident that decades from now, people will look back at this week with all we passed and all we moved on, that we met the moment at this inflection point in history,” he said. “A moment when we bet on ourselves, believed in ourselves, and recaptured the story, the spirit and the soul of this nation”.