Biden is giving Intel $8.5 billion to build in Arizona and 3 other states President Biden was in the battleground state of Arizona to make the biggest announcement yet in his plan to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to America.

Biden is giving Intel $8.5 billion for big semiconductor projects in 4 states

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Biden is making campaign stops in three Western states. He's telling audiences his administration is strengthening the economy, and he's working to remind them of economic lows at the end of the Trump administration.

Today's stop is in Arizona, which is both a presidential swing state and the location of a new federal investment, which we're going to discuss with NPR White House correspondent Deepa Shivaram in Phoenix. Good morning.

DEEPA SHIVARAM, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What's the government going to pay for?

SHIVARAM: Right. So Biden's announcing a huge investment that stems from the CHIPS and Science Act that he signed into law two years ago. That bill's goal was to increase the production of semiconductor chips here in the U.S., which are those tiny pieces of technology that are found in everything from smartphones to refrigerators.

INSKEEP: Yeah.

SHIVARAM: This investment that Biden is announcing today for Intel - that's the company that has a plan to build and overhaul factories in four states, including Arizona. And once all the details are worked out, the government plans to give Intel $8.5 billion in grants and another 11 billion in loans. And the kind of semiconductor chips made at these new plants are advanced ones. They're going to be used for things like AI in military systems. And currently, those kinds of chips are only made overseas.

INSKEEP: Yeah.

SHIVARAM: The White House says that this will create about 30,000 jobs overall, and that's spread across Arizona and three other states, including Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon.

INSKEEP: So many layers to this, one of them being national security - the United States wants to make this vital technology at home - another one being economic development. And then there's the politics. You just mentioned some states there. Some of them are swing states. Some of them are red states. What is Biden saying, though, in other states where these investments are not going?

SHIVARAM: Yeah. So we're in Arizona right now, but yesterday we were in Nevada. And Biden's message to folks in Nevada, where we were, was to kind of acknowledge that the economy was really bad at this time four years ago, during the pandemic. And he says Trump was the one who was president at that time.

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: As I travel the country, folks often tell me how, back in 2020, they were down. They lost their business. They lost faith in the system. But then, the laws we passed and the work we've done together got them back on their feet.

SHIVARAM: And Biden here is trying to make the argument that he's done a lot of things since then to try and improve the economy since the pandemic, since the economic fallout from it. He says, if Trump were to be president again, Trump would focus on tax cuts for the wealthy, for example, whereas Biden has been saying that he thinks billionaires should be paying their fair share in taxes. And Biden also outlined his own ideas to help lower costs for Americans - things like making housing more affordable, prescription drugs more affordable - and that's the message that he took to Nevada yesterday.

INSKEEP: They've got all these items they can talk about, but the White House knows very well voters' perception of the economy overall has been negative. They keep hoping the perception will catch up to the numbers that the White House sees. Has that perception been improving?

SHIVARAM: I mean, Biden still has some work to do, especially in states like Nevada, where the economy recovered slowly from COVID, as we said. And it's just been a much steeper climb than in other states. And with communities of color, Steve, like Latino voters, they haven't been showing a lot of enthusiasm for the president lately, in part over the economy. But there are things that you can see the Biden campaign shifting more focus on to turn this around. He's really trying to draw much stronger contrasts with Trump on the economy and with Latino voters specifically. The campaign launched an ad this week that talks about prescription drug costs. And yesterday in Phoenix, Biden launched his campaign program called Latinos Con Biden at a Mexican restaurant to drum up more support from the community. You know, he won this state by a narrow margin in 2020. And if he wants to do it again, he's going to need strong turnout from Latino voters.

INSKEEP: NPR's Deepa Shivaram in Phoenix - thanks so much.

SHIVARAM: Thank you.

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