My Take, by Terry Troy, Editor
With the signing of the CHIPs bill into law this month, Ohioans, economic development organizations and our local and state governments all sighed a collective breath of relief. The bill, which was the difference between a $20 billion investment and a potential $100 billion, had stalled due to differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, languishing in the never-never land of reconciliation for almost a year after its initial passage.
Yet despite the lack of reconciliation between those small (and many pork barrel) differences, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger proceeded with initial construction in New Albany, while at the same time mentioning that the CHIPs bill passage was essential for allowing Intel’s ultimate investment to reach its full potential.
It was nicely handled for an executive who is more tech-driven than driven by political ideologies. Our own Congress should take a lesson from him.
After approval by the U.S. Senate, both sides of the aisle applauded the bipartisan legislation. But the cheering and congratulations were short lived. Almost immediately after the CHIPs bill’s passage in the Senate, Democrats cemented a deal with Senate holdout Joe Manchin for a new spending bill it called “the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” which, according to many economists, may actually increase inflation.
Whether or not you agree with the provisions of that legislation, it did cause many within the House Republican Caucus to change their collective minds and oppose CHIPs. Feeling betrayed, who could blame them?
Thankfully, the House passed the CHIPs act, but with very little support from the side of the aisle that is usually as pro-business as you can get. The Republican administration in our state that had engineered the Intel deal knew all too well the importance of the passage of the CHIPs bill. Republicans in the House, as well as those in the Senate, also knew of its importance to keeping our entire nation competitive.
So what led the Republicans to change their collective minds? Politics pure and simple.
It wouldn’t have been all that hard to stall or slow the controversial Inflation Reduction Act, until the House had rendered its vote on CHIPs. It was almost as if there were some sort of revenge factor, some sort of political backlash against Senate leader (and CHIPs advocate) Sen. Mitch McConnell—and it seemed that the whole affair turned out to be somewhat embarrassing for the Senate Minority leader.
Which leads us to the main point of the story: The business of politics has no place in the politics of business. Our Senate and House (on the national level) need to work together to benefit our society—no matter what side of the aisle the public votes from—and the creation of jobs and improvement of our economy are essential to our nation’s strength and economic growth.
While the story for us here in Ohio seems, at least for now, to have a happy ending—it could have been much worse. Political bickering and brinksmanship took us to the very edge. It could have destroyed what may turn out to be the greatest manufacturing development our state has ever seen.
Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, let’s strive to put our politics, differences and need for revenge aside—especially when it comes to the creation of jobs. It also just may serve to reunite us for a new future as well. In the words of Thomas Paine, “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.”