At meeting with CEOs, Biden says semiconductor chips are infrastructure


President Biden said Monday that semiconductor chips and batteries constitute “infrastructure” that the United States needs to invest in to keep up with China on the world stage.

“These chips, these wafers … batteries, broadband — it’s all infrastructure. This is infrastructure,” Mr. Biden said as he held up a device part. “So look, we need to build the infrastructure of today, not repair the one of yesterday.”

Mr. Biden was speaking at a meeting at the White House with titans of industry who gathered to talk about supply chain issues with semiconductor chips, which are used to manufacture cars and other goods.

Automakers and other companies have been grappling with a shortage of the chips, which are used to make cars, computers and household appliances.

The president said he’s ready to work with both parties to pass his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package.

As part of the plan, the president is calling on Congress to authorize $50 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research, mirroring bipartisan legislation lawmakers last year.

Mr. Biden also wants some of the $50 billion his plan directs to the National Science Foundation to focus on fields such as semiconductors and advanced computing.

Other members of the administration scheduled to be in the meeting included national security adviser Jake Sullivan, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Business leaders scheduled to be in attendance included Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and Northrop Grumman Chairman, CEO and President Kathy J. Warden.

Lawmakers in both parties have said that easing the United States’ reliance on China for major goods is an area they can see collaboration on in the near future.

Mr. Biden had signed an executive order in February directing a 100-day review of U.S. supply chains.

On Mr. Biden’s broader spending plan, Republicans have dismissed the White House’s expansive definition of “infrastructure,” which has become something of a punchline on both sides of the aisle.

“Stephen Breyer’s retirement is infrastructure and we need it urgently,” Brian Fallon, executive director of the liberal group Demand Justice, said on Twitter last week.

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