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Thursday, May 6, 2021
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White House zeros in on chip shortage in meeting with company officials

U.S. President Joe Biden told a meeting with executives from major companies to discuss the global chip shortage on Monday (April 12) that he has bipartisan support for legislation to fund the semiconductor industry.

He will urge Congress to invest $50 billion in semiconductor manufacturing and research as part of his broader focus on rebuilding U.S. manufacturing as a powerhouse for the world’s largest economy – and a source of good-paying jobs – after years of declining investments and productivity growth, a senior administration official said.

Biden is expected to push his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes $300 billion aimed at expanding manufacturing, especially in disadvantaged areas and communities of color through loans, grants, investments and the targeted use of federal procurements.

While the proposed investments will take time to implement, the administration is also seeking “short-term and medium-term solutions that will be discussed during the summit,” the official said. No further details were immediately available.

Among the executives attending the meeting with Biden were General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra, Ford Motor CEO Jim Farley and Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV CEO Carlos Tavares.

A U.S. auto industry group last week urged the government to help and warned that a global semiconductor shortage could result in 1.28 million fewer vehicles built this year and disrupt production for another six months.

Automakers have been hit particularly hard by the global chip shortage after many canceled orders when their plants were idled by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the weekend, GM canceled more truck production shifts at two U.S. plants..

Broadband internet, cellphone and cable TV companies also face delays in receiving “network switches, routers, and servers,” according to an industry group.

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