WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden touted what he called the rewritten script of U.S. manufacturing in his second State of the Union address on Feb. 7.
The issue was one of the first topics addressed in the president's annual speech. Biden boasted of several legislative feats in 2022 – particularly on infrastructure and investments in cutting-edge production facilities – while pressing Congress to "finish the job" and ensure the U.S. became a global manufacturing leader.
"Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing again?" he said. "For too many decades, we imported products and exported jobs. Now, thanks to all we’ve done, we’re exporting U.S. products and creating American jobs."
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Biden highlighted the major production investments in recent years, contributing to the nearly 800,000 manufacturing jobs that have been created since he took office.
He specifically called out the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act as examples of his push to bolster U.S. manufacturing. The two laws have led to billions of dollars in funding for manufacturing projects in the country, as well as tax incentives for domestically made electric vehicles and components.
Biden called out the "literal field of dreams" underway in Licking County, Ohio, as Intel builds a semiconductor factory campus set to employ 10,000 workers.
The project is a key example of Biden’s push to reshore critical supply chains and fortify them against future disruptions like those seen during the pandemic, noting the semiconductor supply shortages seen in recent years.
"We can never let that happen again," he said. "We're going to make sure the supply chain for America begins in America."
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Biden framed his efforts to grow U.S. manufacturing as a way to return pride to the country’s middle class.
The president began his remarks on manufacturing by talking of towns that were "shadows of what they used to be," as manufacturing jobs moved overseas and factories shuttered in decades past.
"And along the way, something else was lost. Pride. That sense of self-worth," Biden said.
The president used several opportunities throughout the speech to tout what he called key steps in boosting the economy and fostering a "buy American" mentality.
Biden noted that he would announce new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America, such as lumber, glass, drywall and fiber optic cables.
He also spoke about the opportunities offered at new manufacturing facilities as the U.S. looks to grow the next generation of manufacturing workers. He called out Intel's upcoming plant in Licking County, Ohio, offering salaries of $130,000, "and many don’t require a college degree," he added.
Biden boasted that "we're just getting started" when it comes to building the U.S. manufacturing industry of the future, envisioning one in which the country is no longer reliant on foreign countries for critical supplies. Throughout the speech he urged Congress to "finish the job" and ensure the sustained growth of the U.S. economy.
"That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind. Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back because of the choices we made in the last two years," Biden said. "This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives.”