Remarks by the Vice President in a Press Gaggle in Lancaster, Ohio
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hi everybody. Thank you for coming out today. This is a great day for Fairfield County, a great day for Ohio, and a great day for America. This is a Canadian company investing millions of dollars, creating more than 300 jobs right here in the Buckeye State. And as I said today, we believe that it's a result of the policies that we've been advancing with the strong support of Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Stivers, and others serving in Congress in the Republican Party.
But we've got more work to do. The tax cuts, deregulation, all have made a difference in encouraging investments. Six million new jobs created in the last two and a half years, including tens of thousands created here in Ohio. The President and I truly believe that passing the USMCA — the largest trade deal in American history — is going to be absolutely essential to keeping the momentum in this economy and continuing to see manufacturing rebound the way it's rebounding all across this country.
It is amazing to think that, in the last administration, we lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs. But because of the policies the people of Ohio supported in 2016 — of less taxes, less red tape, more American energy, and free and fair trade — now more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created.
But the USMCA has been negotiated between Canada and Mexico and the United States. It not only modernizes but really puts American jobs and American workers first.
As I mentioned today in particular — as we learned in the state of Indiana throughout my lifetime — since NAFTA was signed into law, there were incentives in NAFTA to move jobs south of the border. The USMCA fixes all of that by establishing that a certain percentage of manufactured parts have to be manufactured at what is essentially the American average wage. That takes the incentive out of moving jobs south of the border for all intents and purposes.
And so we're here today to really celebrate a great day. It's the largest economic development project in the history of Fairfield County, at least for 20 years. But we're also really here today to tell the people of Ohio — and, to no less extent, of America — that the time has come for Congress to pass the USMCA.
We really believe that there is growing support on Capitol Hill. I'm pleased to see many Democrats stepping forward, even in the last week, to announce their support of the USMCA.
But for the sake of these workers, for the sake of Ohio, for the sake of America, we need Congress to pass the USMCA and pass the USMCA this year.
So, thank you. Any questions?
Q: There's a debate tonight among the Democrats. Who do you see as your biggest threat among those candidates?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't view it that way. You know, frankly, when I think of what President Trump and I have been able to accomplish with strong support from Republicans in the Congress and the strong support of people across Ohio, I can't wait to get to that election. Because it seems, as we talk about less taxes, less regulation, more American energy, free and fair trade, on the other side of the aisle we see the entire field going farther and farther to the left than anytime I remember in my adult life.
You actually have leading voices in the Democratic Party, candidates for President, who are openly advocating socialism — an economic system that literally impoverished generations in the last century.
So we really believe the philosophy that's emerging in the other party — a philosophy of more government, more regulation, Medicare for All, a Green New Deal — compared to our policies of less taxes, less regulation, more American energy, fair trade — that's a great contest and gives us a lot of confidence about reelection in 2020.
Q: Mr. Vice President, you mentioned building cars in the Heartland. What about the GM closure in Lordstown? Some lawmakers here in Ohio wanted to talk to you about that. What is being done — I guess, right now — to help out some of the people that may have lost their jobs there?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, as you know, after GM made that announcement, President Trump made it clear that we wanted to see GM do better. We're very pleased that they stepped forward. Workhorse, I learned, just this week, secured the financing to move forward to keep jobs in that community, and we're going to continue to look for ways to support that.
But it's important also to note that as Lordstown goes through that process and that change, we're still seeing investment like we're celebrating here in Fairfield County. General Motors is still investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Ohio alone, creating all-new jobs. And to keep that momentum going, we really believe that completing the USMCA will absolutely be essential.
So for the sake of Lordstown; for the sake of the new company, Workhorse, that will be coming there; for the sake of Magna Seating Columbus, we got to get the USMCA done. But we'll keep working hand in glove.
One of the things I think the American people admire about this President is he is — you know, he's fighting every day for American jobs. And when we got word about Lordstown, I was around when the President picked up the phone and called GM and let Mary Barra know that we want them to find a solution for that community and we're encouraged about the progress, but we're going to continue to stay directly engaged.
Q: Sir, you particularly talked about wanting to get this done this year. Do you hear a ticking clock or something? Are you concerned that it won't be able to get the air that it needs if you wait until 2020?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the clock is ticking. Look, the United States and Mexico and Canada negotiated this agreement. Canada has already begun to move it through the legislative process. Mexico has already begun to pass changes in their labor laws that we require in the USMCA to help level the playing field with the United States.
I mean, our work is done, and we have every confidence that if Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the USMCA to the floor, it will pass. But what we want to avoid is having the USMCA slide into next year.
We all know Ohio has always played an outsized role in presidential elections and will again this year. We were incredibly proud to win the Buckeye State in 2016, and we're going to be working to win it again in 2020.
But in terms of the focus of the country, we think now is the time for us, literally, to have — have Congress set politics aside and just do something that's going to be a win for American jobs and American workers. So, we're pressing for it to be done. We're hopeful that, in September or early October, the House of Representatives will take up the USMCA.
We believe the time is now. The clock is ticking. Congress needs to move the USMCA and they need to move the USMCA this year.
Q: Mr. Vice President, what do you make of the President's most recent comments about Congressman Elijah Cummings and his tweets about Baltimore?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, look, in the campaign in 2016, President Trump said memorably that our commitment was we — he was going to be a President, ours was going to be an administration, for all Americans. And I couldn't be more proud of what we've been able to do for the African American community in this country.
We have the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans. We have more than 8,000 Opportunity Zones that have been certified in cities around the country, making it possible literally for billions of dollars to be invested in neighborhoods that have been neglected, haven't had investment, haven't had jobs for decades. We passed criminal justice reform that prior administrations were unable to pass — an issue very, very important in the African American community.
So this President, day in and day out, has been fighting for the interests of all Americans, and we have a proud record with the African American community. That being said, President Trump is someone who — you know, he calls it like he sees it.
And to have Congressman Elijah Cummings berating Department of Homeland Security personnel at committees and denouncing our Border Patrol agents — making accusations that I know are not based in fact, while at the same time people in his city are struggling in neighborhoods with abject poverty — is something that the President was just going to call out. And he will continue to do that not just with regard to Baltimore, but anywhere.
We want every American to prosper in this economy. We've seen 6 million jobs created, 500,000 manufacturing jobs. And the President absolutely believes, if we continue on this path, we're going to continue to expand opportunities to African Americans, Hispanic Americans, to every American family. But part of that, President Trump believes, is being able to say when things are not what they should be, to call on local leadership, to call on state leadership, to say, "You have to do better." And that's what animated his comments about Baltimore.
Thank you all very much.
Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President in a Press Gaggle in Lancaster, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/334344