President Joe Biden failed to offer any short-term solutions to the semiconductor shortage in the United States, choosing instead to promote his multi-trillion-dollar spending plan on Monday.
Biden joined a White House video conference meeting Monday afternoon with his advisers and prominent tech CEOs to discuss the crisis.
“We’ve been falling behind on research and development and manufacturing,” he said. “And put it bluntly, we have to step up our game.”
General Motors and Ford announced several temporary plant closures on Thursday, citing the chip shortage for cutting production.
But Biden offered nothing but his $2.5 trillion spending bill as the solution to the problem during his video meeting with CEOs.
“I’m ready to work with all of you, with the Congress – both parties – to pass the American Jobs Plan and to make a once-in-a-generation investment in America’s future,” he said.
Around 20 business executives joined the meeting with Biden, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Jim Farley, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger
Biden’s bill proposes heavy spending on research and development but does not offer an immediate solution to the semiconductor crisis.
The president’s proposal includes $50 billion to create a new office at the Department of Commerce “dedicated to monitoring domestic industrial capacity” and “$50 billion in broad “semiconductor manufacturing and research” – just four percent of his spending plan.
Holding up an electronic chip, Biden defended it as necessary infrastructure.
“These chips, these wafers … it’s all infrastructure,” he said. “This is infrastructure.”
In February, Biden signed an executive order to review the country’s supply chains on infrastructure.
“We shouldn’t have to rely on a foreign country, especially one that doesn’t share our interests or our values,” Biden said at the time.
He admitted, however, that there was little he could do to fix the problem.
“We all recognize that the particular problem won’t be solved immediately,” he said.