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Biden announces $8.5 billion for Intels semiconductor efforts on Arizona trip

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President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced up to $8.5 billion in federal grant funds from the CHIPS and Science Act will go toward Intel’s semiconductor operations on Wednesday in Chandler, Arizona.

The CHIPS and Sciences Act, signed into law by Biden in 2022, is seen as a way to diversify the semiconductor industry beyond Taiwan, as the island nation continues to have tense relations with China. However, numerous semiconductor projects in the United States face hurdles with timelines, Nikkei Asia reported.

“It’s a smart investment,” Biden said, later describing the developments as a semiconductor “comeback” to the United States.

“I’ve never been more optimistic about our future,” Biden later said.

Some lawmakers have expressed excitement for the funding, as it will be distributed to Intel’s efforts in Arizona, as well as Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon.

“Arizona is the epicenter of semiconductor manufacturing growth in the United States of America. No state in the country is gonna better benefit from the CHIPS and Science Act than Arizona,” Congressman Greg Stanton told The Center Square on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Tuesday. The congressman and Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis greeted the president upon landing in Air Force One.

“It also helps us be more competitive internationally against many of our foreign adversaries in this most important industry,” the Democrat continued.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement that this would help with the company’s work to incorporate AI technology in the semiconductor industry.

“AI is supercharging the digital revolution and everything digital needs semiconductors,” Gelsinger stated.

According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, the state has had 35 announcements related to “semiconductor industry expansions” since the start of 2020.

Not everyone is a fan of the decision to select which companies are getting federal taxpayer dollars.

“The most offensive part of today’s visit by President Biden and Secretary Raimondo is the cronyism involved. Picking winners and losers with taxpayer funds isn’t the way to build prosperity,” Americans for Prosperity’s Arizona State Director Stephen Shadegg said in a statement.

Aside from the Intel announcement, the president launched his campaign’s Latino outreach coalition in south Phoenix on Tuesday night, known as “Latinos Con Biden-Harris.” Later that night, the president handily won the Democratic primary in Arizona.

Some Republicans criticized his stop in Arizona as the state faces an ongoing border crisis. There are concerns about mass street releases in April as federal funding could dry up on support efforts, The Center Square reported.

“Joe Biden, Governor Hobbs, and Arizona state Democrats are cut from the same cloth by embracing open border policies that only jeopardize the safety of Arizonans. It’s shameful how they’ve put illegal immigrants ahead of Arizona families.” Republican State Leadership Committee spokesperson Stephanie Rivera said in a statement.

Biden and former President Donald Trump are expected to make more stops in the highly competitive Grand Canyon State before the general election.