The US needs to invest in semiconductors, President Biden told a virtual summit of tech and auto executives.
"These chips, these wafers … batteries, broadband — it’s all infrastructure. We need to build the infrastructure of today and not repair the one of yesterday,” Biden said. "The plan I propose will protect our supply chain and revitalize American manufacturing." He added, holding a silicon wafer, "this is infrastructure."
The investments come amid a deepening semiconductor shortage, which has meant that car manufacturers are unable to build vehicles, left gamers unable to buy the PS5 or Xbox, and seen router orders delayed by weeks.
The Summit on Semiconductor and Supply Chain Resilience brought together the CEOs of companies like Alphabet, Intel, Stellantis, Ford, GM, and representatives of TSMC, Samsung, and HP, amongst others.
"We’re investing aggressively in areas like semiconductors and batteries," Biden said, pointing out China was already pumping money into the sector.
The White House supports the CHIPS act, which will see around $37bn pumped into semiconductors if it is passed. "And it’s important, but we know it’s not sufficient," Biden said, saying his American Jobs Plan would invest more, with around $50bn thought to be on the line.
The plan, he claimed, is about building out the nation's "supply chain so we never again are at the mercy of another country or any other nation for the critical needs."
General Motors and Ford said that they together expect to lose $4.5bn in potential earnings because of the lack of chips.
Broadband providers are also seeing lengthy delays, Bloomberg reports. Carriers have been given order times as long as 60 weeks as manufacturers struggle to get chips.
Router manufacturers first suffered from Covid factory shutdowns, and then faced booming demand from home workers. Now, chip suppliers like Broadcom are telling customers that lead times could take a year or more.