Portman highlights efforts to foster economic growth through technology and education
U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, detailed several legislative priorities for local leaders at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Breakfast on Friday, specifically explaining the importance of the U.S. innovation and competition, or CHIPS law.
“He said the government would do more in terms of government subsidies for semiconductor production here in this country,” Portman said of the bill, which passed with the support of all Democrats and 19 Republicans. “Now that doesn’t seem like a very Republican thing, in a way, but I voted for the simple reason that we have no choice, if we want to stay competitive.”
The legislation, he said, is about more than semiconductors, also called semiconductors or chips.
“The piece of semiconductor is about $52 billion,” Portman told the NCR Country Club in Kettering. “That’s a lot of money, but frankly, it’s a lot less than what other countries around the world are putting into their incentives to have the chips made in their country.”
These chips are present in everything from cars, smartphones and medical equipment to computers, gaming hardware and appliances like washing machines. But they have been hit by supply chain issues.
Chips are also “the most important aspect” of US national security,” he said.
“The countries that are going to control the battlefields of the future are the countries that are going to have this technology,” he said. “The F-35, which is really important to us here in Dayton because we now have the F-35 office in Wright-Patt…it’s full of semiconductors and it’s not the kind we make here in America. These are the high-end semiconductors.
The United States, which thirty years ago manufactured 37% of the world’s semiconductors, having been the ones who developed the technology, now manufactures between 10 and 12%. Portman said it was “a national security issue” for the United States to bring chip production back to its old level.
The chip shortage, he said, coincides with a decision by Intel, one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, to build a semiconductor manufacturing facility just 87 miles from Dayton, outside of Columbus and representing a $20 billion investment, “the largest investment in history”. from Ohio, by far.
Portman also discussed his work to advance labor legislation in the Senate, such as his Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, a bipartisan law aimed at better supporting today’s students in making “high-quality, short-term education and training programs” eligible for federal Pell Grants.
“You can get a Pell Grant to go to college, but you can’t get a Pell Grant to get an industry-recognized certificate at a place like Intel as a machinist, welder, truck driver, hospital technician or coder,” he said. said. “There are young people who go to programs like the Miami Valley Career Tech Center who are told, ‘Do you want to go to college and get a degree in English? We will give you a Pell scholarship. To do this, your family must meet the relatively low income requirements, but if you want to get a degree so you can become a coder, you’re on your own.
Portman also detailed how the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act promotes language to repeal the 100-day waiting period for military retirees to start working as civilians.
“I know that Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patt has a strong interest in bolstering our workforce,” he said. “We tried to do it in the previous NDAA, but I think we’ll get it this time.”
Chris Kershner, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said it was exciting that Portman was addressing the approximately 180 business leaders in attendance Friday.
“He has been a friend to this business community throughout his tenure in Congress, throughout his tenure as a trade representative, as director of the (Office of Management and Budget) and as as a US senator, he’s always been there for us,” Kershner said. “We couldn’t do it without Senator Portman.”