President Biden hacked his way through remarks before signing a $280 billion bill to boost domestic semiconductor chip production and compete with China on Tuesday morning.
The president, 79, who finally tested negative for Covid-19 on Saturday after a rebound infection with the illness, touted the bill as a national security and jobs creation measure in between phlegmy coughs.
The White House press office said after the speech that Biden had tested negative Tuesday morning and on Monday.
Biden first tested positive for COVID July 21. He took Paxlovid anti-viral treatment for the condition, and tested negative on July 27. He then returned to the West Wing masked-up but suffered a rebound on July 30, with another positive test result.
‘We face an inflection point in our nation and around the world,’ Biden said during remarks outside the White House. ‘Fundamental changes are taking place today, politically, economically and technologically, change that can either strengthen our sense of control and security, of dignity and pride in our lives in our nation or or change that weakens us.’
Biden was accompanied on stage by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who wrangled all of her members on board to vote for the bill, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who led the bill through the Senate. A number of lawmakers from both parties, Cabinet secretaries and electric vehicle and tech industry leaders were spotted in the crowd.
At one point Schumer went down a line shaking hands with those on stage after his remarks. He shook hands with the president and then moved on to others, and moments later Biden stuck out his hand again, leading Republicans on Twitter to question whether the president ‘forgot’ Schumer had already greeted him.
Biden thanked the Republicans who worked on the bill, including Sens. Todd Young, Ind., and Rob Portman, Ohio, both of whom crowded around the president as he signed the bill, before apologizing for getting them ‘in trouble.’
‘Vice President Harris second gentlemen, members of the Cabinet, White House team members, United States Congress of both parties, Majority Leader, Senators Cantwell, Young, Portman, I don’t want to get you in trouble but you did a hell of a job. That’s a different story.
‘We face an inflection point in our nation and around the world,’ Biden said during remarks outside the White House
The president touted the $280 billion semiconductor chip bill in between coughing fits
Biden finally tested negative for Covid-19 four days ago on Saturday
‘Just probably cost you – my apologies. Thank you. Thank you. And along with Senators Cornyn and Wicker, who helped keep this bill on track, beginning to end in the House.’
The bill passed both the House and the Senate in late July.
The package includes $52 billion in funding for U.S. companies to produce computer chips as well as a 25 percent tax credit for companies who invest in the market. It includes $39 billion for chip manufacturing companies to expand and modernize their technologies and $11 billion for the Commerce Department for research and development. It includes another $81 billion for the National Science Foundation.
‘America invented the semiconductor, but today produces about 10 percent of the world’s supply—and none of the most advanced chips,’ the White House said in a fact sheet on the bill. ‘Instead, we rely on East Asia for 75 percent of global production.’
The U.S. relies heavily on Taiwan for its microchip supply, imports that are threatened by China’s creeping encroachment on the island democracy.
Biden signs CHIPS bill after it made it through the Senate with 17 Republican votes
The bill will pump billions to increase domestic chip production and compete with China
‘Fifty, 75, 100 years from now. People will look back on this week and now know that we met this moment today. The bill I’m signing in law, the chips and science, is a once in a generation investment in America itself,’ Biden said in his remarks.
The bill had garnered garnered support from 17 Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and members of his leadership team, including GOP Policy Committee chairman Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Just after the Senate vote, however, Sen. Joe Manchin announced he’d reached a deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on a $739 billion reconciliation spending bill, the Inflation Reduction Act – a new iteration of the Build Back Better bill that Republicans had unanimously railed against.
Schumer celebrates the bill ahead of Biden’s remarks
House GOP leadership then whipped against the spending bill in protest of Manchin’s announcement. Still, 24 Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the legislation.
Critics of the bill, including Sen. Bernie Sanders who voted no, viewed its industry tax breaks an excessive subsidy for big tech firms. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to keep even the House Progressive Caucus united in support of the bill.
After the bill’s passing the White House touted that Micron would be making a $40 billion investment in memory chip manufacturing, used in computers and other electronic devices, and Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries announced a partnership to spend $4.2 billion to expand microchip facilities in upstate New York.