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Transcript: Bringing It Home: Manufacturing

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 3/20/2023 Washington Post Live

MR. LYNCH: Hello, and welcome to Washington Post Live. I’m David J. Lynch, global economics correspondent here at The Post.

Today we have two segments on American competitiveness, the future of manufacturing, and the return of industrial policy. Later we'll hear from Governor Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, about how the CHIPS Act is taking shape in the Buckeye State. But first, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joins us to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act, its impact on the American economy, and the transition to clean energy.

Secretary Granholm, welcome.

SEC. GRANHOLM: Thank you so much. So glad to be on.

MR. LYNCH: Well, we're glad to have you with us.

Now, our introductory video covered the bare bones of the IRA. I want to start what this important legislation will mean for individual Americans. Where will our viewers see the results in their own lives, and how can they take advantage of it?

SEC. GRANHOLM: Yeah. It's a great question because there are huge opportunities for individuals, especially as they consider perhaps retrofitting their homes to be more energy efficient. So, for example, if you wanted to install a heat pump in your home, replace your HVAC system--perhaps it's gone out--you can get significant tax credits to be able to do that, and the, you know, more moderate or low income you are, the greater the benefits are. Those--in fact, there will be a series of rebates associated with energy-efficient appliances like heat pumps, induction stoves, et cetera, coming out this year.

There's also--if you want to generate your own energy, it's a 30 percent tax credit for solar, for small wind. It is--there's tax credits for making sure you have--if you want to have an electric vehicle, of course, $7,500 off the top. You can get a tax credit for installing charging equipment in your home, and you can have tax credits for installing batteries in your home as a backup to make your home more resilient, up to about $18,000 worth of tax credits for these clean energy opportunities, appliances and equipment.

MR. LYNCH: And so, in the aggregate, I've seen all sorts of estimates for what the legislation will ultimately provide, everything from around $370 billion to estimates of over a trillion dollars, taking into account both direct and indirect spending. Can you walk us through the mechanics of the financing and give us a ballpark sense of just how expansive you think the real-world consequences are going to be?

SEC. GRANHOLM: Well, when you think about the Inflation Reduction Act, of course, those are largely, largely tax credits, and so you're going to need to have private-sector investment as well, and those tax credits are for both production of clean energy as well as investment in building the facilities to be able to make that clean energy. And that then--and that means the whole supply chain for making that happen. So private-sector investment coupled with the tax credits associated with the production of the clean energy means it--there's a big multiplier on how much could actually be invested in the United States.

And then on top of that is the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, less tax credits, more grants, and that's for next-generation clean technology. For example, clean hydrogen, creating hydrogen hubs across the country, that's $9 billion, but those two require a private-sector match. So that, you can just double the amounts there. So combined, it is hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars invested in clean energy solutions, technologies, supply chains, generation, the largest, as you said, investment in clean energy in U.S. history and among the largest in the world for sure.

MR. LYNCH: Now, the sort of industrial policy that the IRA represents and also the CHIPS Act was out of favor in Washington for decades, at least since the Reagan years, which I'm old enough to remember. The thinking was the market, left to its own devices, was the best arbiter of economic outcomes. What's the theory of the case behind the IRS? Why is the private sector on its own not able to sniff out these opportunities in the transition to cleaner energy and act on them without this level of government involved?

SEC. GRANHOLM: Well, I can tell you that the United States in bowing to the altar of free trade has allowed in, historically, other countries to step up with their own industrial policy, their industrial strategy, to lure investment offshore. And I'm a former governor of Michigan. We saw it firsthand how our industrial base or the spine of our nation, of our economy was hollowed out because we sat on our hands. We sat there and allowed China, other countries to swoop in and take huge swaths of our industrial base. We chased--as a nation, we chased low cost, low wages, and that created this global shift to low-wage countries and away from the United States.

So we--I mean, this president said, enough. We are not going to sit by anymore and just watch these jobs go overseas. We are going to fight for it. We are no longer just going to bring a knife to a gunfight, a global gunfight for these jobs. We are going to get in the game, and we are going to recruit back supply chains that we have lost and be at the forefront of new technologies that we want to create. This is a $23 trillion global market in clean energy and clean energy products by 2030, according to Bloomberg--$23 trillion. So we can sit by and allow other countries to swoop in and gain their share of that market and corner it, or we can say, heck no, we are getting in this, and we are going to fight for our share of it. So that's what this president has done.

I'm so glad. We used to--I mean, I used to say when I was governor of Michigan--and this may be controversial, but I used to say, "NAFTA and CAFTA have given us the SHAFTA," because all we did was watch all these jobs go away. That is not happening anymore, and so I, for one--and I know a lot of people on both sides of the aisle are really happy that we are fighting for these jobs and these investments in this country.

MR. LYNCH: Now, another interesting angle to what's happening here is what's going on in red states where many politicians, many voters and their politicians have been unpersuaded by climate science, but now you've got a lot of quite lucrative investments in electric vehicle production, battery production, and whatnot appearing in states like Georgia and Tennessee. To what extent do you think the debate over climate change and the necessity to do something about it is going to shift as the economic dimension of this debate becomes more explicit, as people in red states see that clean energy can mean jobs?

SEC. GRANHOLM: Yeah, really important. I mean, those states, they all want to keep their young people in--working there as well, and young--many young people really want to be part of something bigger than themselves. So fighting climate change is one way to do that but also to get good paying jobs, and so there's several dimensions of this that red states can love; for example, making sure the jobs exist. So you're going to be talking to Governor DeWine. I mean, Governor DeWine in Ohio has benefited enormously from the Inflation Reduction Act. You had Honda coming to announce battery factories. You had Ultium, which has partnered with GM, another battery factory, in Lordstown. You have solar expansions from First Solar, one of their legacy solar companies, saying that they're going to expand as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS factory that you're going to talk to him about as well.

Industrial states, whether you're red or blue, are going to see an enormous influx of investments from these companies who are going to take advantage of this act, and yes, a lot of this is going to red states. The Battery Belt has shaped around Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, and those states should see that it's in their best interest to be able to embrace the companies that want to go there and give jobs to their citizens, keep their young people there.

As I say, it's a $23 trillion market, and you better believe all these states could benefit from it. And you are seeing a lot of these investments going to traditionally red states.

Let me just say one example of this potential is in oil and gas states, for those states to be able to foster an environment that is conducive to, for example, geothermal energy, which is clean baseload power that's beneath our feet and uses the same skillset, for example, as workers in the oil and gas industry.

So there's all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people in all pockets of the country, and you better believe red states are going to benefit from it as much as--or even more, potentially, than blue states.

MR. LYNCH: Now, there was a quite sobering new report out just today from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and that panel of experts now reporting that the world is likely to miss its most ambitious target of keeping planetary warming below about 3 degrees Fahrenheit by sometime in the next decade. That suggests that the measures like the IRA alone are probably not going to be sufficient to get us where we need to go. Don't we need to put a price on carbon, in general, and has the administration given up on efforts to do just that?

SEC. GRANHOLM: Well, that--putting a price on carbon was never President Biden's goal. He really wanted to approach this with carrots rather than sticks, and let's see how this plays out, because since he has taken office and his push toward incentivizing investment in the United States has taken hold, for example, just in the battery space, batteries for electric vehicles, we've had a hundred--over 111 announcements of battery companies coming and expanding in the United States, over $85 billion worth of investment for electrifying our transportation system, which as you know takes a third of the--puts a third of the greenhouse gas carbon pollution into the atmosphere that causes that global warming.

So we want to be able to see this significant investment and how it plays out. Clearly, other countries have different ways of approaching it, and that's, you know, up to them. But it is clear that every country feels this.

In the United States, last year alone, we spent over $160 billion cleaning up after these extreme weather events. We should be acting as though this is an emergency because it is. Who pays for cleaning up those events? It is the taxpayers who pay for it. So let us invest in jobs, in energy security, and in protecting our climate so that we don't have to spend money on the backside cleaning up when we could be spending money on creating jobs to prevent climate change from happening in the front--on the front side.

MR. LYNCH: Now, House Republicans are talking about passing an energy bill this spring that would include reforms to the permitting process which many people regard as a huge impediment to making the sort of progress we need to on climate. If this really is the sort of emergency you've just described, don't we need to do something about permitting? Is the administration on board with those sort of changes? And are you willing to take on the--some of the environmental groups who've resisted these efforts traditionally?

SEC. GRANHOLM: The president is a hundred percent supportive of speeding up permitting, and we all believe--we in the administration believe that you can do that without sacrificing the goals behind NEPA and the other permitting rules that protect the environment. You can do it more speedily, and the--you know, I don't know that one version or another is better. I know he was behind--excuse me. I shouldn't say that. One version is going to be better than another, and I know he was behind Senator Manchin's efforts last time. It should not take, for example, over 10 years, 17 years to get a transmission line permitted in a moment when we must invest in the grid. We had spent so much time waiting and doing nothing, and we have an old grid. Now we've got to essentially double the capacity of our grid to make sure that we get to the goals of a hundred percent clean electricity by 2035. The only way we can do this is by speeding up permitting.

He's looking at ways to do this from an--from the executive branch side, and he will be supporting a permitting reform in the Congress that comes through. Obviously, it's going to have to come through the Senate as well.

It is clear that permitting--speeding up permitting, whether it's for, you know, any type of energy but particularly clean energy, in light of this report that we just referenced, has to happen if we are really to take action to prevent the biggest harms to our planet.

MR. LYNCH: Can you provide any specifics of the sort of permitting reforms that the president would support? Because many of them, according to some critics, do involve the sort of endless legal processes you can get into where groups can file lawsuits that slow down everything from an oil pipeline on the fossil fuel side of things but even to solar power facilities, wind turbines et cetera. What sort of changes would the administration back?

SEC. GRANHOLM: I think the administration would be--I know the administration would be supportive of just--of speed, of speeding up these processes, of making permitting decisions that are concurrent rather than consecutive, for example, of shortening the amount of time that it takes to permit, of adding staff to make sure that things move more quickly.

It was announced--John Podesta announced at CERAWeek last week--was it last week?--last week, the week before, that the administration is looking at existing laws for permitting transmission; for example, under the Federal Power Act, to be--to do a memorandum of understanding inside of the executive branch, to agree to time frames on under which transmission lines would be permitted. That's the kind of thing he would like to see. We do not want bureaucracy and the bureaucratic red tape underbrush slow the need for us to be energy secure and to cite these clean energy projects and to make sure that the projects that are existing are retrofitted and buttoned down, especially if they're fossil infrastructure so that we don't have methane leaks, for example, or even any pipeline with oil and gas leaks. So there is--there needs to be much quicker permitting of all kinds of energy infrastructure but particularly energy infrastructure that will lead us with alacrity to getting to the goals of net zero by 2050.

MR. LYNCH: I wanted to ask you also about what seems to be something of a tension between your manufacturing goals, on the one hand, promoting domestic manufacturing, and the climate imperative, on the other, of rolling out these cleaner energy sources as fast as possible. If you're putting forth requirements in the legislation, as is the case, that require domestic sources for electric vehicles and batteries and whatnot, that's going to be added expense. Won't that--won't that slow down the transition that you're trying to achieve?

SEC. GRANHOLM: Well, I think a lot of the incentives actually take down some of that initial cost for production, for manufacturing, and of course, the incentives that are at the point of purchase also reduces cost.

But clearly, we have to do everything everywhere, all at once, meaning we want to build up this supply chain, and we want to incentivize the purchase of those supplies. We want to build up the full suite of technologies inside the United States, and that takes a little bit of time. So we have to have a reasonable bridge to be able to get there.

But we think that the incentives that have been put on the table for the full supply chain, for a lot of these technologies are irresistible, and we know this because we are seeing all of these investments and these announcements coming to the U.S. So in a very short period of time, you will see the buildup, for example, of this solar supply chain. You are seeing the buildup of the battery supply chain for electric vehicles. So we're doing a lot of this simultaneously, and we're excited about the initial response that we're seeing from the private sector on it.

MR. LYNCH: Now, any innovative effort is going to have its losses as well as its wins, and I wonder what provisions are in place to guard against the sort of losses we saw in 2009, the American Recovery Act which funded things like Solyndra, a solar power startup that got a lot of attention when it failed, maybe disproportionate attention, but the political reality was it hurt President Obama at the time. What safeguards do you have in place to protect against a repeat of that, and how enduring is the political support for this effort? Could you survive a Solyndra or two?

SEC. GRANHOLM: Well, let's just be clear that you're referring to the Loan Programs Office, and they do very strict vetting of their programs. But they are in place to take on the technology risks that commercial banks won't do at this time, because a lot of the technologies that they have been investing in are newer technologies. That was the case probably back with Solyndra, and that is the case. That's the purpose of a portion of the Loan Program's Office portfolio.

However, there are incredible professionals who do a huge amount of work vetting these programs, working with the private sector to ensure that they have thought through every angle, that they've got customers, they've got suppliers, they've got offtake, they've got a program that will be profitable into the future.

So while there may be some, there haven't been yet. You know, I'm not saying that there won't be. They do an awful lot of work to prevent that from happening, but that's part of what this entire program's purpose is, is to make sure that there is a place for new technologies where very conservative banks will not invest because it is a new technology. We've got to be able to have the courage to invest in some of those experiments but experiments that will prove out to be very much bankable into the future.

With respect to other grants, et cetera, every single grant that comes out of, for example, the Department of Energy--and I'm sure this is true with other departments--is peer-reviewed for the best technology by a panel of experts. Only the best technologies are the ones that get these awards. Again, we work with them to make sure that they will be successful. So there will be, I am certain, some failures in the system, but we work very hard to minimize those so that the taxpayer is protected to the fullest extent that we possibly can.

MR. LYNCH: Okay. Well, we're going to have to leave it there. We're just about out of time. Secretary Granholm, thanks very much for joining us today. It was a pleasure to have you.

SEC. GRANHOLM: Thank you so much for having me.

MR. LYNCH: Next, we'll hear from Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio right after this.

[Video plays]

MS. HUMPTON: Hello. I'm Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA, and I'm thrilled to be here today with CEO and co-founder of KORE Power, Lindsay Gorrill.

Hi, Lindsay. Thanks for joining me, and you lead KORE Power, a provider of batteries and integrated solutions for the electric vehicle and energy storage sectors. We've all heard a lot about the need for batteries to drive electrification, and I'm excited to talk to you because KORE is leaning into that challenge. Siemens is proud to be working with you on a big project that we'll talk about today.

But first, we're in an exciting moment for industry in America, and it's happening after an eventful few years in which we've navigated tough supply chain disruptions and welcomed historic government investments in infrastructure. You founded KORE Power in 2018, which seems like a lifetime ago. Tell us about how the company started and how your vision for the company is now coming to life.

MR. GORRILL: Thanks, Barbara. I'm excited to be on this Washington Post Live.

So my previous company I sold--I was in the mining sector all my life. The previous company was basically a critical supply to lithium batteries, which started--which made me focus and found 2018, and as you mentioned, our facility in Arizona, we broke ground in December of 2022.

You know, I think KOREPlex will be an anchor for the domestic supply. We'll provide cells and mobility and utility skill storage to the entire infrastructure of the United States, and we were--we want to position our ourselves to be the domestic supply chain, to create a supply chain for all industries and EV sector and infrastructure, including from both before the cells and above.

And what's unique is we are a U.S.-owned IP, which is obviously very rare, and, you know, with my background, it's allowed me to get us to this point so quickly, even though five years seems like a long time, but we've progressed this thing very, very quickly.

And I think we fill the gap in domestic manufacturing for providing the storage assets that make clean energy available where and when it's needed, and one thing we want to dispel right off the bat is that the minerals that go into lithium batteries are not rare. They're everywhere. The issue we have is timing, meaning you have to discover it, permit it, and put in production. And I think that with government and private sector working together, we can get there in the next five years.

MS. HUMPTON: That's exciting.

Now, in a previous segment like this one, I had a chance to talk to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego about how Phoenix has become a hub for EV innovation, and so I wanted to highlight the KOREPlex, in particular, your lithium-ion battery cell gigafactory that you're putting up now, as you say, and Siemens is so proud to be involved with it. What does it take to create a gigafactory like this, and what does it mean not only for the Phoenix community but for the United States as a whole?

MR. GORRILL: Well, you need a super group of people working together, and--but we are bringing a $1.25 billion modern clean manufacturing facility to one of the fastest-growing communities in Arizona called "Buckeye," and Buckeye has been very receptive. We are bringing thousands of jobs to the market, and a majority of these jobs don't require advanced education, many technical in nature. And one of the big things about Buckeye is almost everybody travels to Phoenix to work. So we can cut off two hours of the commute to work with us in Buckeye.

On top of all that, we're partnering with colleges, universities, and technical schools to train and further provide education for our employees. We understand the need to start training employees now for this industry, and it's going to take more than just KORE Power. But we believe the work we are doing in Arizona now with high schools all the way to universities will basically start a founding--basically a founding block for not just us but all the industries to follow. And I think that's very, very important as we develop the next generation of employees.

But there is another piece of this. Arizona is also home to many EV companies and the state has--state was one of the early adopters to utility-scale energy storage, which is both our customers. But today most of these product and projects are--all come from overseas, and the KOREPlex will show that the world--we can produce high-quality product for the EV and energy storage industries right here in the United States.

We see KORE as an independent battery producer where all the other batteries companies coming to the United States are tied to larger OEMs, and there is a massive amount of demand for infrastructure and hundreds of other EV companies related that are in desperate need of supply, and we'll be that supply. We think this is important because it's going to take more than the established few to meet the energy transition, and we worked very hard over the last year--last four years to prove our product is tier one and is--we've had success both in energy storage and EV charging, EV applications all over the world, and we've been able to negotiate large offtake agreements that will pre-sell the majority of the KOREPlex production before it is even built.

So again, core makes the battery cell. We are the foundation to the energy transition. Without the cell, there's no transition, and that's what's really important. And we can--we're showing everybody, we don't need to rely on other countries to get there. KORE is U.S.-based, American IP, and we're strategically trying to bring the supply chain here because as one thing we've learned in the last three years is as having access to your own raw materials is absolutely essential. Thanks.

MS. HUMPTON: Well, then in closing, let's come back to this idea that none of us will shape a more sustainable future alone. A lot of folks know why policy action and investment at the federal, state, and local levels matter. But I also like to point out that this is just a down payment. There's also a big role for private-sector financing to play, and give us your perspective on what it takes to actually bring a huge project like this to realty.

MR. GORRILL: For sure. I mean, having the U.S. government invest in the growth of these industries is massive, right, which will allow our industry to start moving rapidly at the scale required to meet the energy transition roles.

The IRA is a great start and allows the private sector to make major investments with less risk in early stages, which they would normally not do. This is still a young industry, but with this support, the industry would mature very quickly. We'll see more innovation in the sector, which will be essential for us to hit targets like long duration, very fast-charging cells, something that KORE is working on right now. Eventually, we'll see the government funding ramp down as the industry becomes viable standing alone, but in the short term, it will be essential that the government continues to support those of us who are pushing the sector forward and will show the world in no time that we are the leaders in this technology.

This is why, Barbara, I can't wait to welcome you to the Buckeye when the KOREPlex is up and running. Thank you.

MS. HUMPTON: Lindsay Gorrill, thank you so much. Thank you for your leadership, and I'm proud to be a partner.

[Video plays]

MR. LYNCH: For those of you just joining us, I'm David J. Lynch, global economics correspondent here at The Post.

My next guest is Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio. Governor, welcome to the show.

GOV. DeWINE: Good to be with you. Thank you very much.

MR. LYNCH: Well, I appreciate you coming.

Let's start with Intel's $20 billion project outside of Columbus to put up two state-of-the-art chips foundries. As I understand it, this is the largest single private-sector investment in your state's history. Can you tell us a little bit about how it developed and what the role of both federal and state government incentives were in bringing it about?

GOV. DeWINE: Well, we started, I think, as a real long shot. We don't really have a history of making chips in Ohio or certainly not much of any history of it, and we put in our application, and basically, Intel said, you know, "You got three days. Give us a site." So we went out to all six of our regions, and with the specifications that Intel had given us, we got one site back. And we were off and running.

And, you know, it's--they told us that we were one of, I think, 40 different sites around the country, and, you know, we were just very happy to be able to get this win. It's a big, big win.

We have a lot of things, we think, going for us in Ohio. We have an abundance of water. Intel was also looking to be fairly close to a major university, and this site is close to Ohio State, but it's also close to another--an awful lot of other universities around the--you know, that particular area in Central Ohio as well. Transportation is good.

And I think that, you know, part of this--I like to think is the personal relationships that we built and the trust that we built over time in going back and forth with Intel. We took the attitude that in every case when they asked for something, we would try to get to yes, but we also told them, "Look, when we can't get to yes, we'll tell you that we cannot do it." We also emphasized that we were in this for the long run, that it wasn't just a question of making a deal and moving on and let them do what they do. We would continue to run interference for them. We would try to make things happen, because we know that this is a long--you know, we are in this for the long run, and what, frankly, we hope and what they told us is that not only will we have this first phase but a possibility of three more phases to go beyond that.

You asked about the incentives. You know, Intel--we certainly gave Intel some incentives, but what they told us was our incentives really were not greater than other states, that everybody that was competing really had, you know, some incentives on the line that they were willing to put forward.

So I think for us, it was a combination of many things coming together, and ultimately, I think it was just, you know, the trust that they had in us that we could get the job done, that we were going to be partners of theirs for a long, long time into the future.

The federal incentives really came to play in this manner. Intel told us, "We're going to build"--once they made the decision--"We're going to build in Ohio. We're going to build on this site. We're going to put phase one. Our ability to move to phase two, phase three, phase four is dependent upon whether or not the CHIPS Act does, in fact, pass." So that's how they approached it to us or how they set it up to us, and so that's, I guess, how I would describe the federal incentives and what impact that was going to ultimately have on Intel and have on the state of Ohio.

MR. LYNCH: So just to clarify, those additional follow-on phases--and I've seen estimates from the company that over a long period, this could ultimately be worth as much as a hundred billion dollars, which is an extraordinary sum. How definite are those follow-on phases? What needs to happen in order for them to materialize?

GOV. DeWINE: Well, the first big hurdle Intel made clear was the passage of the CHIPS Act. That has now passed, of course. So, you know, it depends, I'm sure, on the market. It depends on a lot of different factors that are, frankly, beyond Ohio's control.

But what we have always said is "Look, we're going to do our part. We're going to do everything that we can. We want you to grow. We want you to go to phase two and three and four." Phase one itself, as you said, is the biggest investment that has ever been made in the history of the state of Ohio.

You know, they already have 167 suppliers, I think, in the state of Ohio, and they're adding more, and some of those are going to be in central Ohio. Some of those will be in other parts of the state. So the impact on Ohio is just huge.

The other thing I told our team when we were still a pretty good long shot is that if we can pull this off, I think it will send a signal to other companies all over the country that Ohio is a place to look at. If Intel made this decision in Ohio, other companies, whatever they make, should look to Ohio. We are historically a manufacturing state. This is one of the main things that we have always done, and we have all the other assets that I listed--excuse me--I listed earlier in our conversation.

MR. LYNCH: So I'm interested in your views on both the wisdom and limits of this sort of federal industrial policy. I think it's accurate to say at least since the Reagan era, the standard Republican view has always been that markets--free markets worked best at rendering economic decisions, and that the government was wasteful and inefficient and really a source of trouble for the economy as often as anything else. So what's changed? And if massive government subsidies for the semiconductor industry are a good idea, why not have the government subsidize a whole bunch of other industries?

GOV. DeWINE: Well, I think that's a very good question. You know, I was in--when I went to the United States House of Representatives, Ronald Reagan was president, and so 8 years in the House and 12 years in the United States Senate, I understand, you know, what you're saying about basic Republican philosophy of government backing off.

But I think facts have changed. We have a very aggressive competitor in regard to China that will steal. They'll do anything that they can need to do. They subsidize, certainly, industries that think--they think need to be subsidized. And it's not only China that does that. We're seeing other countries that do that, and certainly most, if not all, the countries that are really our competitors in regard to chip manufacturing.

I don't have to tell you, our listeners, our viewers, that, you know, how important chips are. Fran and I wanted to buy a truck year or so ago for--a pickup truck for our farm, and I called my dealer up, and I told him what I wanted. He said, "Look, you're going to be lucky to get, you know, what we can get you, and, you know, it's going to be three months, four months, five months." And so many Americans saw that because of the fact that we didn't have chips. You know, we didn't have chips for the pickup truck. We don't have chips for automobiles and the ripple effect that that has.

So I think it's a different world today. I think that we certainly cannot and should not be subsidizing every industry, but I think making strategic decisions that are in the national interest of the United States makes eminent sense. And the CHIPS Act decision--to put the CHIPS Act on for Congress to actually pass it, I think also makes a great deal of sense not just for our economy but also for national defense.

And so facts have changed, in my opinion. I think we have to be strategic about it. I think we have to be smart about it. We don't want to, you know, have a command, a control economy where the federal government is picking--always picking winners and losers. But I think doing it strategically where it makes sense is smart, and if we don't do it, I think we're going to pay a huge price and, frankly, already have paid a price.

MR. LYNCH: We're already seeing, though, what some have referred to as sort of "mission creep" in the implementation of the CHIPS Act, that the Commerce Department is requiring bidders for the funding under the program to provide child care in order to qualify, and the administration defends that as a measure that's necessary to help secure an adequate labor supply for these projects. Some in your party and independent analysts have said it's the administration trying to achieve social policy goals that they weren't able to get through Congress on their own. Do those sort of measures make you uncomfortable at all, or do you think they are motivated by a desire to maximize the labor supply?

GOV. DeWINE: Well, the biggest problem that we find in Ohio today, we're creating more jobs every day than we have people to fill them. So, you know, getting people to work, you know, if they need child care, making sure they have child care is something that companies are moving to on their own.

Intel had a plan to do the child care, whether that was in that bill or not. I think, you know, when you look at what is necessary to have your employees there and so they can work a day and not have to take off because their child care went down, the child has a problem, I think, makes a lot of sense. So again, you can argue that either way, but I think the market is taking care of a lot of that.

MR. LYNCH: The labor issue is already emerging as a potential challenge for the CHIPS projects, not just in Ohio but elsewhere. As you know, we're at a point of historical tightness in the labor force. What sort of workforce development efforts are you ramping up in Ohio, either in conjunction with Intel, other employers, or just on your own? And what sort of goals or progress do you anticipate?

GOV. DeWINE: Yeah. As far as Intel, I'll take that first. All along, the plan has been--and it's now being executed--to bring in Ohio community colleges, bring in Ohio four-year colleges and universities, and that is actually taking place. So there's a very close relationship between Intel and a number of our universities. Our universities are actually working together, which is a great thing, and so that part of that is moving forward, I think, very well.

Interesting thing about Intel, you know, the average salary is going to be a very, very good salary, well over a hundred thousand dollars, but a good number, over half of the employees do not have to have a four-year college education. Some, a two-year will do. Some, even less than that will do beyond high school.

So the big picture, I think, for Ohio is that we are, in fact, creating more jobs every day than we have people to fill them, and so really there's only one answer. And that is to make sure that every Ohioan lives up to their full God-given potential so that we don't have young people coming out of high school who are not on some pathway. So we have really ramped up our career tech in Ohio, putting a lot more money and resources into career tech.

The interesting thing, as I travel around the state this summer, my wife, Fran, and I spent a lot of time traveling around Ohio. So did the Lieutenant Governor, John Husted. And just, you know, talking to young people who are in career tech and just high school students and just seeing how excited they are and the good jobs that they can, in fact, get.

But we also--to deal with this in the long run, we have to start early. So prenatal care, early childhood development, you know, all of these things, we're putting a lot more focus on so that when these children do, in fact, hit kindergarten, they're, you know, ready for kindergarten and all the way through. We're putting a real new focus on reading, in the budget that I just presented to the general assembly. We tell our local schools that they do have to use the science of reading, that they have to use phonics, because we now know with a lot of data to show it that this is how kids best learn to read.

So it's these things. They're not going to--that's not going to solve our employment problem for this year, but it's not going to be too long until these kids, you know, who in third or fourth grade are coming out of high school, and having kids that can read, having kids that can live up to their full potential on a pathway, whether that's four years, two years, or whether it's a trade or something else, that really, I think, is the most important thing that the state can do and something that we actually do have some control over.

MR. LYNCH: As you say, these new jobs at Intel are going to be very good paying jobs, six-figure annual salaries, I believe, but to make sure that I'm clear on just who can anticipate getting such a position, these aren't the sort of positions that somebody could walk out of a tool and die shop in Columbus one day and go to work for Intel the next. Even if they don't require a four-year degree, my understanding is that many of them do require skilled certifications, technical specialist qualifications, that the average guy working in a factory somewhere is unlikely to have. Is that right?

GOV. DeWINE: I think it's not entirely right. I think there are certainly some positions at Intel that someone can go into. Intel, look, is going to do some of their own training as well. You've got a good, reliable person who has some background in that area; there are going to be some jobs at Intel for them. But it's really a combination of things. It's a combination of the two-year schools as well as the four-year schools.

And again, this is being worked out very, very closely with Intel. Intel is very much involved in this. They put real money into it in a real close relationship with our educational institutions in Ohio.

MR. LYNCH: The other part of this labor issue, of course, that's worth discussing is the immigration situation, and two of your Republican colleagues, Governors Eric Holcomb in Indiana and Spencer Cox in Utah, wrote in a recent op-ed in The Post, quote, "We call on Congress to end its two-decade standoff on setting immigration policy. We believe that states should be able to sponsor whatever immigrants serve the needs of their communities," and that stance aimed at addressing labor shortfalls in those states. Is that something that you would support?

GOV. DeWINE: Yes, absolutely. Look, as I said, I spent 20 years in Congress, and we were able to get an immigration bill passed early on in my term as a representative in the U.S. House. That was in the mid '80s, but since that time, we really have not--we've really failed as a country to come up with a rational immigration policy. And what we see, of course, is that the illegal immigration controversy and the complete failure of our federal government to stop illegal immigration has made it impossible for us to pass any rational legal immigration policy in this country.

We need to be more hardheaded about it in the sense that, you know, somebody who has skills who wants to come to the United States who--or even if they, you know, depending on the state, if whatever that state is looking for--and I think one of the things about the op-ed piece is they would leave it up to the governors. Governors know what their states need, generally. They know what their employment situation is. So, yeah, I think that Congress really needs to look at this, and if you want to talk about failures over the last 20, 30 years, failure to come up with a legal immigration policy that makes sense has been one of those huge, huge failures.

MR. LYNCH: Now, the Biden administration advertises its IRA legislation and the CHIPS Act as part of a genuine renaissance in manufacturing that they're taking credit for. In your view, has anything--fundamental changed about the attractiveness of the U.S. as a manufacturing platform, and if it has, does the Biden administration deserve credit for it, or is it simply the result of other forces?

GOV. DeWINE: Well, to me, one of the big things that happened over the last few years, of course, was the pandemic, and like a lot of huge things that happen in a country, there's some consequences that maybe no one predicted.

We went through the struggle. Our hospitals in Ohio went through the struggle. How do we get N95 masks in here from China? But it wasn't just the N95 mask. It was gowns. How do we get gowns? How do we get gloves? And all of these things or most of them have gone away, and we're making them overseas. So I think one of the lessons that we take from the pandemic is we have to make more things in the United States. We just cannot be so dependent on other countries. That doesn't mean we're going to make everything in the United States.

But I was in a company called American Nitrile this week, and they really had ribbon-cutting ceremony, and this is right here in Ohio. And they're making now gloves, gloves that are made right here in the United States, and there will be gloves for hospitals, and they're going to make millions and millions and millions of these gloves. You know, that would not have happened, I think, without the shock and--of the pandemic when we saw supply lines totally messed up and we saw just great panic that we could not get certain products.

I think also American businesses, as they looked at this, decided, you know, we really can't be relying on supply line that comes out of China or comes out of--you know, clear across the world, and we need to have some of these suppliers a lot closer to us.

We think Ohio is very perfectly situated with our great location. Sixty percent of the population of this country, 60 percent of the population of Canada is within a day's drive of Ohio. We've got a good workforce. We have a history, a history of great manufacturing. We are a manufacturing state. So we think history has come together, and it's our time and our time in history. And I think things are looking very good for Ohio and, frankly, for other manufacturing states.

MR. LYNCH: Great. Well, in the 30 seconds or a minute we have left, I just have to sneak in one question about the news of the day which, of course, is the prospect of former President Trump perhaps being indicted later this week. Two-part question. If, in fact, he is indicted, in your view, should he stay in the presidential contest or get out? And second, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, his primary competition at the moment, criticized the Manhattan DA today as a, quote, "Soros-funded prosecutor," close quote. I wonder, as a governor yourself, if you view it as appropriate for an elected official to weigh in that--in that manner on an active case.

GOV. DeWINE: Look, I'm a former county prosecuting attorney. My wife says I'll always be a prosecutor. That's kind of the way I look at things. I don't know the facts. I mean, I don't know all the facts of that case.

It seems odd to me that it has taken that long for the prosecutor to put a case together or decide that they want to put a case together. I don't know the facts, but it just seems odd to me.

MR. LYNCH: Fair enough. Well, we'll have to leave it there. Governor DeWine, thanks very much for joining us today.

GOV. DeWINE: Good to be with you. Thank you very much.

MR. LYNCH: And thanks to all of you for watching. If you’re interested in seeing what other interviews we have coming up, please go to, I should say. That might work better, and thanks for watching today.

[End recorded session]


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