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Biden highlights legislation targeting competition, inflation in North Carolina trip

Congress is trying to work out an agreement that incorporates elements of House and Senate-passed bills aimed at strengthening U.S. manufacturing.
Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on April 12, 2022.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden traveled to Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday where he pushed Congress to pass legislation that he said would bolster the semiconductor industry and other high-tech manufacturing.

"Congress needs to get this bill on my desk as quickly as possible," Biden said during a visit to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the country's largest historically Black college or university. "Our economic strength is on the line and national security as well is on the line. Companies are ready to invest in America and American communities, in American workers, they need to see that their government is capable of investing in our future."

The measure, which would provide billions in funding intended to spur innovation in the semiconductor industry, has been caught up in months of negotiations between the House and the Senate, which first passed a version of the legislation in June.

The White House said the legislation would create a new directorate at the National Science Foundation that would focus on manufacturing, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. It said the measure would also create a new hub within the Department of Commerce that would offer five-year funding to support regional partnerships centered around technology.

Biden said the bill, along with other efforts his administration is taking to boost U.S. manufacturing, would ultimately help drive down inflation and make the nation less vulnerable to supply chain disruptions from overseas.

The president's visit follows a Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Tuesday that U.S. inflation hit a 40-year high of 8.5 percent, mainly driven by a spike in oil prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine though other areas like rent, food and cars also saw significant price hikes.