POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — President Joe Biden predicted Thursday a $20 billion investment by IBM in New York's Hudson River Valley will help give the United States a technological edge against China, hailing the expansion during an appearance with two House Democrats in competitive races in next month's critical elections.
The president cited IBM's commitment as part of a larger manufacturing boom, spurred by this summer's passage of a $280 billion measure intended to boost the semiconductor industry and scientific research. That legislation was needed for national and economic security, Biden said in Poughkeepsie, adding that "the Chinese Communist Party actively lobbied against" it.
"The United States has to lead the world of producing these advanced chips — this law is going to make sure that it will," Biden said.
The speech was part of a whirlwind trip that focused heavily on campaigning and included two fundraising events. During one, he warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat about using nuclear weapons as his Ukrainian invasion has floundered is the most severe "threat of Armageddon" since Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Democratic candidates have largely avoided election-year appearances with Biden, whose approval ratings remain underwater. Bucking that trend in New York were Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Pat Ryan, who attended the president's remarks at IBM.
The lawmakers, along with Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, greeted Biden upon his arrival at Stewart Air National Guard Base.
"When I heard @POTUS was looking to see the benefits of the CHIPS & Science Act first-hand, I told him that the Hudson Valley was the perfect place," Maloney wrote Wednesday on Twitter. "I'm thrilled to host him in Poughkeepsie this week to celebrate the major wins and good-paying jobs we are delivering here in NY."
The CHIPS and Science Act, which Biden signed in August, was a rare bill for which the president was able to win bipartisan support.
IBM's $20 billion investment over the next decade is intended to bolster research and development and the manufacture of semiconductors, mainframe technology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
"As we tackle large-scale technological challenges in climate, energy, transportation and more, we must continue to invest in innovation and discovery — because advanced technologies are key to solving these problems and driving economic prosperity, including better jobs, for millions of Americans," said Arvind Krishna, IBM's chairman and CEO.
IBM's commitment comes on the heels of chipmaker Micron announcing this week an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a plant in upstate New York that could create 9,000 factory jobs. In his remarks, Biden also celebrated Intel's plant groundbreaking in Ohio and an investment by WolfSpeed for chip production in North Carolina.
Maloney, chairman of the Democratic congressional campaign fundraising arm, is running against Republican state Assemblyman Mike Lawler in the 17th Congressional District. Ryan faces state Assemblyman Colin Schmitt in the 18th District.
The boundaries of most New York districts, including Maloney's and Ryan's, have been affected by redistricting.
Ryan in August won a close special election to serve out the term of Democrat Antonio Delgado, who vacated his 19th District seat after he was appointed lieutenant governor by Hochul. Ryan is running for a full term in the 18th District, where he lives.
Maloney, who had represented that district since 2013, decided to run in the 17th District. His Hudson Valley home fell inside the new boundaries after redistricting.
Hochul, who took office last year after Democrat Andrew Cuomo resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, is looking to win a full term as governor. Her opponent is Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin.
Later Thursday, Biden spoke out against Republicans at a fundraiser at the home of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in support of the Democratic National Committee. The president has warned that followers of former President Donald Trump who deny the results of the 2020 presidential election are a threat to U.S. democracy, labeling them through Trump's slogan of "Make America Great Again."
"Not all Republicans are MAGA Republicans," he said, but a "good 35% are Trumpites."
In the evening, Biden attended a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in Manhattan hosted by James Murdoch, the son of News Corp. publisher Rupert Murdoch. He warned about Putin hinting in a speech last month about deploying Russia's nuclear arsenal, a possible response to the recent loss of territory to Ukrainian forces.
"We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis," Biden said.
James Murdoch and his wife, Kathryn, a climate change activist, were major donors to Biden's 2020 presidential campaign. In 2020, Murdoch resigned from the board of News Corp. amid differences over editorial content at his father's company, which operates The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. The elder Murdoch is also chairman of Fox Corp., which includes Fox News Channel.
While Biden has been kept at arms length by many Democratic candidates, he's been a prodigious fundraiser for his party this election cycle, raising more than $19.6 million for the Democratic National Committee.
Associated Press writers Michelle L. Price in New York City and Michael Catalini in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.