UPDATED 11:09 AM PT – Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Joe Biden’s pledge to bolster America’s supply chain sounds reminiscent of his predecessor. He appeared to take a page out of the 45th president’s ‘America First’ playbook. On Tuesday, Biden held a meeting with several business executives, cabinet members and California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) to discuss the supply chain crisis plaguing the U.S. economy.
Biden pledged to spend $35 million to shift processing rare earth materials to U.S. facilities and $700 million to create more than 350 jobs in the magnet supply chain by 2024. He said his goal is to bring manufacturing jobs back to America.
“We need a future that’s made in America,” Biden stated. “Almost exactly a year ago, I issued an executive order to prioritize strengthening our domestic supply chain because when I found out was that, you know, if I was going to follow through on my commitment to say we were going to make it in America and build it in America and have all of it built in America, we needed a supply chain that was that was reliable.”
He went on to say his administration is committed to combating China’s hold on America’s supply chain. Biden even reiterated Donald Trump’s promise to put products on shelves that tout being made in America.
“China has spent several years cornered the market on many of the materials that power the technologies that we rely on,” Biden explained. “That’s why I committed us to build a clean energy supply chain stamped ‘Made in America’ and ‘Made in America’ means using products, parts and materials as well as minerals right here that are in the United States of America. It means betting on American workers.”
His remarks came after Republican lawmakers sounded the alarm on America’s dependence on China’s supply chain as the coronavirus coronavirus brought these cleavages to light. In 2020, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act amid shortages of essential medical treatments and equipment for COVID-19. Additionally, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claimed China cut off supply of these materials to the U.S. to further escalate the trade war with former President Trump.
In the meantime, a slew of U.S. companies are joining Biden’s campaign to shore up America’s supply of rare earth materials. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy plans to make a new demonstration facility in Imperial County, California in the spring to test the viability of extracting lithium.
Meanwhile, Tesla vowed to source high-grade nickel for its cars’ batteries from Minnesota. Also, Redwood Materials, which is founded by Tesla co-founder J.B. Straubel, is partnering up with Ford to collect and recycle electric vehicle batteries for essential rare earth materials at Redwood’s Nevada facility.