Senator Warnock at KIA Georgia: discusses supply shortage, infrastructure spending

LaGrange Bureau

WEST POINT, Ga. (WRBL) – Senator Raphael Warnock visited KIA Georgia in West Point on June 2, 2021 to discuss the shortage of the semiconductors KIA that recently led to a two-day shutdown at the plant. Warnock also took the opportunity to promote the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which he said would avoid future shutdowns.

Warnock is working on that bill in the Senate.

“Among other things, this legislation is going to make needed investments in promoting semiconductor production right here in the United States,” Warnock said, “to support jobs at facilities just like this one.”

According to Warnock, if passed, the bill would approve $52 billion to fund the federal chips program to address the U.S. semiconductor shortage. He would like to prevent future shortages of essential materials while maintaining a strong and resilient American supply chain network.

Warnock said the next critical step in America’s economic recovery is infrastructure.

“What we have to do now is pivot quickly and pass infrastructure,” said Warnock. “That means jobs in Georgia.”

Warnock knows these proposals will cost money, but said it’s critical for moving our nation forward. Warnock wants to specifically invest in electric cars, port and rail infrastructure.

“The only way for us to continue to lead is to invest. Which is why I was proud to write a letter to the President and also to get language in the competition bill that’s on the floor now. That will speed up our effort to make sure that we invest in semiconductor production right here in the United States and the kind of research and development that will make that possible,” said Warnock.

Warnock wants to specifically invest in electric cars, port and rail infrastructure.

Warnock said he is doing everything he can at the federal level to prevent anything happening like the shortage again. He said he wants to make sure the country prioritizes semiconductor research and development.

“Rest assured, that as we prepare to go back to Congress next week, I am going to keep fighting in this work period and in the next and in the days ahead to get this important legislation that’s enforced Georgia jobs over the finish line. There is no time to delay,” said Warnock.

Warnock emphasized the importance of The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act because of the effect it will have on Georgia jobs. He said closing the KIA facility for two days affected families across the state, especially because KIA Georgia produces a car every 58 seconds.

“When you talk about the ripple impact about that kind of shortage, that’s not just the workers here. That’s a negative impact on our economy for all of Georgia,” said Warnock.

He spoke about the impact the semiconductor research and development has on the education system and the importance community colleges and technical colleges have on the community. He believes the work force looks different now as opposed to decades ago.

“We got to make sure that young people regardless of where they’re from or their zip code that they have access to the kinds of jobs that represent the future. So that means investments in community colleges, technical colleges, HBCU’s that have long been punching way above their weight,” said Warnock.

Warnock called KIA Georgia “remarkable” and a “state-of-the-art facility” that is essential for good paying jobs in Georgia. He thanked the leadership for welcoming him to their facility and for being a partner that supports Georgia manufacturing and jobs.

In a statement to News 3, KIA said Warnock’s visit highlights the importance of the facility.

“We were happy to host Senator Warnock’s visit today to showcase our state-of-the-art facility and our world class Kia Georgia team as we produce some of the highest quality and most popular vehicles on the market,” KIA Georgia stated.

Kia had a similar shutdown last year at the outset of the pandemic, also due to supply shortages.

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