Remarks on Michigan Governor Gretchen E. Whitmer's Signing of an Executive Directive To Support Implementation of Federal Legislation Promoting United States Semiconductor Production, Technological Innovation, and Advanced Manufacturing
[The President joined Gov. Whitmer's signing event, which was held at Hemlock Semiconductor Operations, LLC, in Hemlock, MI, via videoconference.]
Governor, thank you very much for the introduction. And there's no one I'd rather be working with at the State level than you.
You know, when I decided to run for President this last time, I decided that I was tired of the notion of a trickle-down economy. My dad used to have an expression. He said: "Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, everything is going to be okay.'"
And so that's when I decided I was going to run and build this economy from the bottom up and the middle out. Because when the middle class does well, everybody does well. The wealthy do very well. Everyone does well. And you know, I think that's one of the things—what excites me so much about dealing with the CHIPS Act.
And look, you know, Gov, we've been partners for a while in all these efforts, and there's no reason why that should slow up now. And I also want to thank A.B. Ghosh and everyone at Hemlock for—you know, for being so, so cooperative and keeping things alive for—since the sixties. [Laughter]
I also want to thank Representative Kildee. I tell you what, there's a man who cares a great deal about this issue, along with Senator Peters and Stabenow. The other members of the Michigan delegation—wouldn't have happened without them. Every single Democrat and two Republicans voted to get the CHIPS and Science Act to my desk. It really matters.
I was looking forward to visiting all of you in person, but I'm glad I could still meet you virtually. As we meet to celebrate this bill, I'm reminded of what we did more than a decade ago when we rescued the American auto industry in the wake of the Great Recession. There were those who said we shouldn't; we should just let it go bankrupt. Remember that debate? It was a literal debate, "Just let it go bankrupt." But we all, in this room, refused to let that happen.
And it wasn't just because it was an iconic industry. It was because the auto industry is the heart and soul of the Nation. It was about the auto industry's legacy. It was about the future, it was about America's future. And one of the reasons why I'm so excited about the CHIPS and Science bill is that it seizes that future for decades to come.
Last week, after the bill passed, I saw a headline on the front page of the Detroit Free Press that said, "Semiconductor Vote Thrills Automakers". But I know it sure in the hell thrilled me, and it thrilled everybody around this White House and all of us. You know, I—the way I see this bill in Michigan is, it's about chips, and it's about cars.
The bill will supercharge our efforts to make semiconductors here in America. And you know, these tiny little computer chips, the size of a fingertip that are building the—are the building blocks for the modern economy. They power everything from smartphones to dishwashers, automobiles, and so much more.
In fact, the vehicles that the UAW makes in Michigan use as many as—the vehicles use as many as 3,000 semiconductors per vehicle. And as electric—and electric vehicle sales continue to climb—there were double this year than there were last year—automakers are going to need even more of these semiconductors.
America invented the semiconductor. But, over the years, we let manufacturing of these semiconductors go over—get overseas. And as we saw during the pandemic, when the factories overseas that make these chips shut down, the global economy comes at a screeching halt, driving up costs for families in a big way.
Now, a third of the core inflation last year in America was due to the high price of automobiles, which was driven by the shortage of semiconductors. For the sake of our economy and jobs and costs and our national security, we have to make these semiconductors in America once again.
And, folks—for the folks at home, there's a broader supply chain that makes these semiconductors that connect to countless other small businesses and manufacturers. This bill funds the entire semiconductor supply chain, from research and development to key inputs in polysilicon manufactured at Hemlock.
Look, I'm told that one-third of all the chips in the world use the polysilicon made right here in your factory. Imagine if we had more of these kinds of factories doing some of the most sophisticated manufacturing in the world, employing thousands of workers, including UA plumbers and pipefitters, IBEW electricians, sheet metal workers, ironworkers.
This is the—this is a—you know, as analysts say, an investment in the CHIPS and Science Act is going to create more than a million construction jobs over the next 5 years. That's not even counting the jobs making the chips—just building the facilities, building semiconductor factories. It's going—a million construction jobs, and who knows what that's going to generate.
This will make sure that as many of those jobs pay Davis-Bacon prevailing wage, which will ensure the tens of thousands of new construction jobs are good-paying union jobs here in America.
And the bill is not handing out a blank check to companies. This bill has guardrails that are going to protect taxpayers' dollars and the interests of the American workers, small businesses, and the communities they're in. It means companies partnering with community colleges and technical schools that offer training and apprenticeship programs and working with small and minority-owned businesses.
And my administration is going to—we're going to take—make sure we take back investments if companies don't live up to their end of the bargain. We're not going to allow companies to use these funds to—for stock buybacks and issue dividends.
And finally, too often entrepreneurs and startups, you know, invent their technologies in America only to go overseas to commercialize them—the items they invented. This bill makes it clear the world's leading innovation will happen in America. We will both invent in America and make it in America.
And we're going to make sure we include all of America, including rural and urban communities right here in the industrial Midwest. Just as a lot of experts were wrong to think that we—when we rescued the auto industry more than a decade ago, a lot of experts today believed we wouldn't bring manufacturing jobs back to America and that they were forever gone.
But they were wrong. We recovered all the manufacturing jobs we lost during the pandemic, 613,000 of them gained since I took office, more than any other President. Construction of new manufacturing facilities are up more than double this year.
And the investments in the Inflation Reduction Act currently in the Senate are going to create even more manufacturing jobs—jobs building out wind farms and solar panels, making electric vehicles here in Michigan—while lowering energy costs and health care costs, like the costs of prescription drugs.
Folks, we have more work to do. But the progress we're making is proof that we're the United States of America and there's nothing beyond our capacity when we work together.
And that's what we're doing because of the elected officials on that factory floor. We're working together.
But I think the one thing the American people began to lose faith in was our ability to work together to get things done. There's nothing—and I mean this sincerely—there's nothing beyond the capacity of the United States to get done—nothing—when we decide to do it together. And that's what happened this time around.
So I'm going to turn this back to Governor Whitmer and thank her again for all her incredible leadership. But I also want to say one more time what my dad said: "A job is a lot more than about a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. And it's about being able to have a little bit of breathing room."
That's what all these jobs are going to do. They're going to put America in a position to be the leader in the world economically for a long time to come. And this is part of it.
As I said before I began—you know, we had a little chat before we came on the air—I said: "You know, we used to invest over 2 percent of our total GDP in pure research and development. We cut down to .7 percent. Other nations picked up that research."
But that's not who we are. We're back in the game. There's not a thing we can't do. Remember: We invented these chips. We modernized these chips. We made them work. And there's a lot more we can get done.
So, please, please, please have faith in our country, have faith in what we can do. As I said, there's nothing beyond our capacity. Nothing. Nothing.
Thank you, Governor. I'm going to turn it back to you now.
NOTE: The President spoke at 3:09 p.m. from the Treaty Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Arabinda "A.B." Ghosh, chairman and chief executive officer, Hemlock Semiconductor Operations, LLC; and Reps. Peter J. Meijer and Frederick S. Upton. He also referred to H.R. 4346.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks on Michigan Governor Gretchen E. Whitmer's Signing of an Executive Directive To Support Implementation of Federal Legislation Promoting United States Semiconductor Production, Technological Innovation, and Advanced Manufacturing Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/357114