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Husted hopes president's Intel comments don't fan partisanship on key federal bill

A rendering shows early plans for two new leading-edge Intel processor factories in Licking County, Ohio. Announced on Jan. 21, 2022, the $20 billion project spans nearly 1,000 acres and is the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022, with production coming online at the end of 2025. (Credit: Intel Corporation)
Intel Corporation
A rendering shows early plans for two new leading-edge Intel processor factories in Licking County, Ohio. Announced on Jan. 21, 2022, the $20 billion project spans nearly 1,000 acres and is the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022, with production coming online at the end of 2025. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

President Biden drew attention to Intel’s planned semiconductor manufacturing facility in Ohio at Tuesday’s "State of the Union" speech. As he wove a story about Intel, the new project, and a federal bill that would provide support for semiconductor chip production, he quoted Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) but didn’t talk about any of the Republican leaders who were instrumental in bringing the project to Ohio.

The subject came up as President Biden was talking about the need to make more products in America when he referred to an example in Ohio.

“If you travel 20 miles east of Columbus Ohio, you’ll find 1000 empty acres of land. It won’t look like much but if you look closely, you will see a field of dreams. The ground on which America’s future will be built. That’s where Intel, the American company that helped build Silicon Valley, is going to build a $20 billion semiconductor mega-site," Biden said.

 This is the proposed site of an Intel computer chip plant northeast of Columbus.
Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
This is the proposed site of an Intel computer chip plant northeast of Columbus.

Biden talked about the need for Congress to approve the "Chips Act," legislation that would provide $52 billion for expansion of the Intel project, and other efforts to produce the semiconductor chips that are used in cars, phones, and other technology. The U.S. House passed one version of it, and the Senate passed another, with both of Ohio’s Republican and Democratic Senators supporting the plan. While both versions of the bill include that funding, it has been stuck in political gridlock ever since.

 Lt. Gov. Jon Husted talks about the Intel project at the Ohio Statehouse
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted talks about the Intel project at the Ohio Statehouse

Republican Lt. Gov. Jon Husted worked with Gov. Mike DeWine and other state leaders to help bring Intel to Ohio. Husted says he favors the Senate plan, which doesn’t include $8 billion for climate change that Republicans opposed. When asked about his thoughts on Biden’s comments and whether that would help sell the bill on a bipartisan basis, Husted responded this way: “Anytime a president who is unpopular mentions something, it certainly does not necessarily help build broad-based support. But I recognize that President Biden wants to connect himself to successful things that are happening. We’re having success in Ohio. He’s connecting himself to it. In Ohio, though, we have not made it a partisan issue. We believe it is a bipartisan issue in the state of Ohio because it’s about jobs. It’s about education. It’s about growing our economy. And I don’t know who is not for that," Husted said.

Husted says making semiconductor chips in the U.S. should be an issue of American security, ensuring the country isn’t dependent on other countries for this valuable resource.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.