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President Biden Touts Industrial Policy during a Visit to a Milwaukee Factory

President Biden speaks at the Ingeteam factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Courtesy President Biden’s X account.

“Not a joke,” said the president. “When I think climate, I think jobs.”

President Biden was in Milwaukee on Tuesday to highlight another factory hiring announcement that’s being credited to the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), one of the big planks of federal industrial policy enacted under his administration.

Ingeteam, a Spanish company, makes components for wind and solar energy systems at its 11-year-old Menomonee Valley facility, and it’s the federal tax credits available for clean energy production – first put in place during the Obama administration and then extended by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which turns a year old this week – that has made that business viable. But Ingeteam is expanding its footprint and hiring another 100 workers to make electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Milwaukee factory. And in doing so, it’s citing the funding set aside to build domestic manufacturing capacity for EV chargers in the BIL.

Biden was on hand to make some political hay out of its plans.  

“Until this year this company didn’t think it made sense to make chargers for electric vehicles in the United States, but then I signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” the president told a crowd of workers at the Ingeteam plant. “That law invests $7.5 billion to build a network of thousands of EV charging stations stretching across the country. Over 500,000 of these charging stations. That’s real jobs, and that’s real money.”

“Not a joke,” Biden continued. “When I think climate, I think jobs.”

The BIL indeed earmarks billions of dollars to help companies increase domestic production of EV chargers, as well as other pools of money like $10 billion for clean transportation projects and $7 billion for EV battery components, critical minerals, and materials. But, most crucially, the infrastructure bill includes updated Buy America language that expands and tightens the coverage of domestic preference rules that govern federal infrastructure spending.

That means more products and materials purchased in that spending, which is a significant amount of money, will be Made in America by American workers.

It’s specifically that updated Buy America language that just last week generated the announcement – also in Wisconsin – of 200 other factory jobs building broadband internet equipment for European telecommunications giant Nokia.

That’s not all the Wisconsin factory activity generated by all this industrial policy. Siemens, the German manufacturing conglomerate, announced that through a contractor – the same one that’s partnering with Nokia, in fact – is set to make solar products at a Kenosha County site. From Reuters:

Siemens will produce solar string inverters, devices that convert energy generated from solar panels into usable current, for the U.S. utility-scale market, it said in a statement. The products will be made at a facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin, operated by Sanmina (SANM.O).

“Working with Sanmina to establish this new production line, Siemens is well positioned to address supply challenges our country is facing as we work to localize production for green and renewable infrastructure,” Brian Dula, vice president of electrification and automation at Siemens Smart Infrastructure USA, said in the statement.

All in all, it’s been a big few days for manufacturing in the Badger State. You can watch Biden’s address at the Ingeteam facility below.  

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