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Opinion Pieces

The Cincinnati Enquirer: Opinion: CHIPS Act will help create thousands of jobs in Ohio in the immediate future

If we learned anything during the early days of the pandemic, it was that America can no longer afford to rely on other nations for products and supplies critical to our economy and our national security.

One product that meets both of those criteria is semiconductors, also known as chips. They are used in more ways than we could possibly list here, running the gamut from consumer products such as smartphones, computers and even cars, to defense items such as drones and Javelin missiles. 

Further, Intel plans to invest $20 billion and hire thousands of Ohioans to manufacture these advanced chips at two cutting-edge factories in the state. This unprecedented investment will help make Ohio a global hub for semiconductor manufacturing.

Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and our leaders in the Statehouse deserve a lot of credit for working with Intel to find the right situation and location for these important manufacturing facilities.  

However, to make this investment a reality, Congress needed to act swiftly and dedicate appropriate resources to incentivize domestic semiconductor manufacturing. While the United States has been a leader in chip development for decades, manufacturing of these critical chips has shifted abroad over the years, with Taiwan manufacturing the vast majority of the world’s most advanced semiconductors.

As a democratic stronghold, Taiwan is one of our closest allies in the Indo-Pacific region, and we enjoy close economic ties. Consequently, Taiwan provides our companies access to the advanced chips that they produce. It’s a relationship that has worked well for both nations for years.

However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to assert its territorial claims over Taiwan, and greedily eyes its semiconductor production capabilities. The CCP knows that seizing control of Taiwan and the industries that thrive in that country would allow them to exploit those resources, gain a stranglehold over the global economy, and force Beijing’s views and agenda on the rest of the world.

We cannot allow that to happen.  

To combat Beijing’s economic and territorial ambitions, we must first make clear to Chinese leaders that we will not tolerate any attacks against Taiwan’s sovereignty. But, we must also prepare for the possibility that these warnings are ignored.

One of the most important steps we can take to protect our economy from the potentially devastating impact of Chinese aggression against Taiwan is to significantly invest in our advanced semiconductor manufacturing capabilities. The CHIPS Act that Congress recently passed will do just that. 

Specifically, the CHIPS Act will provide tax incentives to expand semiconductor production in America, while directly investing $52 billion to jump-start production and fund further research, development and innovation in this critical industry.

Passage of the CHIPS Act wasn’t easy; instead, it’s the culmination of years of work. 

Most recently, the CHIPS Act was included in broader legislation to combat the growing threat to the world posed by a more aggressive China. I served on the conference committee to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions of this legislation. While we couldn’t agree on many of the China-related provisions, nearly everyone on the committee, Republicans and Democrats, agreed that the CHIPS Act had to pass – and it had to pass now.

So, the CHIPS Act was separated from the larger bill and considered by itself.  

While no legislation is perfect, the CHIPS Act is far too important – especially to Ohio – to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the very, very good.

Ultimately, the CHIPS Act will provide Intel with the support it needs to complete its investment in Ohio. Further, the University of Cincinnati and other Ohio universities are poised to capitalize on the research funds provided under the bill.

As a result, the CHIPS Act will help create thousands of jobs in Ohio in the immediate future and will push our state to the forefront of this critical industry, which will shape the economy of the 21st century and beyond.

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, represents Ohio’s 1st District.

Read the op-ed on the The Enquirer here.