In visit to Butler County, Biden calls on congress to support U.S. Innovation Act

President gives remarks after tour of United Performance Metals in Hamilton during visit to SW Ohio.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

HAMILTON — President Joe Biden called for restoring American ingenuity and manufacturing Friday after touring United Performance Metals in Hamilton.

After touring the facility, which supports the additive manufacturing industry, Biden took a small stage with Ohio’s U.S. senators Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown to advocate passage of the Bipartisan Innovation Act.

The Bipartisan Innovation Act is a combination of House- and Senate-passed bills aiming to invest in American research, boost domestic manufacturing and strengthen supply chains. It includes $52 billion to invest in American semiconductor manufacturing and research.

Flanked by signs saying “A Future Made in America,” Biden said the legislation is the best way to combat inflation and compete with China.

“The pandemic and economic crisis that we inherited, and Putin’s war on Ukraine, have all shown the vulnerability when we become too reliant on things made overseas,” Biden said. “We know that one of the best ways to fight inflation is to bring prices down what brings prices down is the strength and the resilience of our supply chain. And that includes making more things here in America at home from top to bottom.”

This includes investing in small businesses, Biden said, especially 3-D printing companies that can reduce parts lead times and cut energy costs.

“Every one of you knows that the competitive and resilience of the American supply chain rests on tens of thousands of small-sized manufacturers like the ones I’ve met here today,” he said.

Biden also talked up recently passed infrastructure legislation, getting one of his largest rounds of applause when he referenced fixing the Brent Spence Bridge.

“That bridge if you really want to go to Kentucky is going to get better,” he said.

Local officials in attendance

UPM employs about 120 people at its Hamilton headquarters. After Biden spoke, company officials said the bill includes research and development tax credit and working with major manufacturers to help develop support and supply line infrastructure.

“The big push is that they want to spur small and midsize business, so they’re going to provide funding for these small businesses to start up, and push additive manufacturing to the forefront,” said Tom Kennard, executive vice president of UPM parent company O’Neal Industries.

Jon Graft, CEO of Butler Tech, attended the event and said the type of investment in 21st Century workforce development the president talks about is important to trade schools like his.

“We’re in the midst of this industrial revolution 4.0, and for our students to be able the have the practical skills necessary to get into these innovative fields that I’m sure President Biden will speak about today is really important for us,” he said.

UPM is in Hamilton near the border with Fairfield. Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller said he is proud of the level of advanced manufacturing and robotics in the city. “I’m glad (Biden) is now aware of it and hopefully that awareness will spread,” Moeller said.

Fairfield Mayor Mitch Rhodus, a Republican, attended as well and said investing in advanced manufacturing is important and bipartisan, but must be weighed against inflation and responsible spending concerns.

Brown and Portman speak at event

Sen. Brown, before introducing Biden, invoked Ohio’s history as a global leader in manufacturing and innovation, and said it was undermined by Congress allowing corporations to seek cheap labor overseas.

“Ohio has paid the price for price for years in the form of lost jobs and lost opportunity. Now the whole country pays the price, higher prices, supply chain disruptions and delays. Losing entire high-tech industries to competitors like china.”

“Ohio invented the light bulb. Today 99% of LED light bulbs are made in China,” he said.

Sen. Portman talked about Intel’s recently announced $20 billion investment in semiconductor production facilities in New Albany, Ohio. He said the legislation could help that grow to a $100 billion investment.

“That’s really important, not just to central Ohio, not just to the Buckeye state, but to our entire country,” he said.

He also called for parts of the legislation to pass aimed at holding China to trade rules.

“It’s too darn important to Americans to get caught up in partisan politics here,” he said.

Gas station protest nearby

Biden’s visit was met with a partisan response.

The Ohio Democratic Party issued a statement praising the number of jobs created since Biden took office.

“President Biden is working with Ohio Democrats to put working families first,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters.

The Ohio Republican Party said Biden’s policies have hurt working Ohioans and the manufacturing industry.

“Democrats haven’t just forgotten Ohio workers, they intentionally abandoned them,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik.

As Biden arrived, the conservative group Americans for Prosperity gave out gift cards for people to buy gasoline at a nearby Thonton’s gas station to highlight inflation and increased gas prices since the president took office.

“Today, President Joe Biden was in southwest Ohio talking about inflation, manufacturing, and job creation. Unfortunately, the rosy picture portrayed by the president fails to mask the true cost Washington’s failed policies are having on Ohioans,” said AFP Ohio State Director Donovan O’Neil.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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