Remarks by the Vice President on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
Well, hello, Wisconsin! (Applause.) It is great to be with all of you. Thank you for that wonderful, warm welcome. To Congressman Brian Style — (applause) — to Congressman Glenn Grothman — (applause) — to my friend Kate O'Scannlain, to Linda McMahon, and the whole team at America First Policies who brought this all about, but most especially to Liz and Dick Uihlein and the incredible men and women of Uline: It is great to be in the Badger State. (Applause.)
Thank you all for coming out today. Thank you for such a wonderful, warm welcome. It is great to be back in the Heartland.
And before I begin, allow me to bring greetings from a friend of mine. (Applause.) A man who loves the state of Wisconsin and has been fighting every day to keep the promises that he made to the people of this state. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
But thank you all. Thank you again for the — thank for the time today and for making us so welcome. We have an important topic to discuss, and it's a real privilege to be here with more than 300 Wisconsinites and a great American company.
It's amazing to think that the story of Uline is an inspiring story of the American Dream. It's remarkable to think that Liz and Dick started this now world-famous company in your basement. Nearly four decades later, Uline, I'm told, sells more than $2 billion in goods every year and has created more than 5,800 American jobs. (Applause.)
Liz and Dick, would you just stand up and let us show how much we appreciate your leaderships, your vision, your character? These are two incredible Americans. (Applause.)
And the story of Uline is a story of the American Dream. I was pleased to learn on the way here: Over the three years, Uline has grown even stronger. Sales, I'm told, are up by 44 percent, profits are up 58 percent, and Uline just created more than 1,200 new, good-paying American jobs. Uline is on a roll, Wisconsin is on a roll, and America is prospering because of all of you. (Applause.)
But I'm here today because we've still got work to do, and we've got an incredible opportunity before us. Because sitting on the desk of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is the largest trade deal in American history. And I came to Wisconsin to say it's time for Congress to enact the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and pass it this year. (Applause.)
But before I talk about that, let me take a minute just to reflect on the progress we've made because of the confidence that all of you and people of Wisconsin placed in this President and this administration.
You know, when I think of the last three years, there's only one way that I can describe it. It's been three years of action. It's been three years of results. It's been three years of promises made and promises kept. But we're just getting started, Wisconsin. (Applause.) That's why we need the USMCA.
I mean, think about it: I mean, President Trump promised to revive the American economy, and he went straight to work. Working with our allies in the Congress of the United States, President Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. Disposable income for working families across this country is already up by more $5,000 a year. In fact, the President went on to sign more bills cutting federal red tape than any President in American history. And we've unleashed American energy. Next year, we will be a net exporter of oil for the first time in 75 years. (Applause.) We're on the road to energy independence, Wisconsin.
And evidence in the trade deal that brings us all here today, President Trump has been working hard for free, fair, and reciprocal trade that puts American jobs, in the city and on the farm, first. The results have really been remarkable in that agenda.
I mean, since Election Day, businesses like this one — businesses large and small across America — have created 6.5 million new jobs in the last three years. (Applause.) And that includes more than 39,000 jobs right here in the Wisconsin. (Applause.) Amazing.
The unemployment rate has hit a 50-year low. And here in Wisconsin, I'm told, it's even lower than the national average: it's 3.2 percent. In fact, right now, the unemployment rate is below 5 percent in 48 states and below 4 percent in 35 states. I mean, we're setting records all over.
And even more important to the President and me is that, right now, we not only have the lowest levels of unemployment in more than half a century, but we have the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The American Dream is working again for every American. (Applause.) It's true.
And, you know, it's not just more jobs — although there's a lot more jobs, right? It's been about better jobs. As I mentioned, since the President was elected, the average American household income has gone up by $5,000 a year. And that's being driven in large part by the fact that wages are rising. Wages are rising today at the fastest pace that they've risen in more than 10 years. And the President and I are probably most proud of the fact that wages, today, are rising most rapidly for hard-working, blue-collar Americans. The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.)
Now, this didn't just happen. All of this didn't just happen. It's not some economic cycle that's underway. It's because of the leadership and the policies that people of Wisconsin supported and the policies that this President was able to put in place because of the allies that we had in the Congress.
And frankly — frankly, it's all happening because when the American people are given more economic freedom, allowed to keep more of what they earned; when we expand opportunities by rolling back red tape, we unleash American energy, and lower the cost of energy, lower the cost of energy in this country, the American people and American businesses know what to do, because the American worker is the best worker in the world. And that's why we're prospering — because Americans are seizing on it. It's true. (Applause.)
I mean, it's really because of all of you, the President and I and our team and our allies in Congress have been working to enact the policies that give Americans the opportunity. But the growth that's happening is because, from the Uline family down to everybody wearing all these great red shirts and all of you here, businesses like this one across the country have bene seizing the opportunity.
But it's people that are driving America's success. People like a man who I'm told served six years in the Illinois National Guard as a Chemical Operations Specialist. He served a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a truck commander on a ground assault convoy team. There, he came back with the Meritorious Service Award. But for the last five years, he's been using those skills he learned in the uniform of the United States to build this company. So would you join me in thanking Sergeant Jacob Kueker for his service to America and his incredible contributions to the success of Uline? (Applause.) Thank you, Jake. And thanks for your service.
We also, I'm told, have with us today the leaders of a fourth-generation family business just nearby in Racine. For nearly 90 years, I'm told, their family has been making dependable tools. They've created hundreds of good manufacturing jobs here in Wisconsin. They're making a difference every single day in this growing Wisconsin economy. So would you join me in thanking the owners of A&E Incorporated, John and Julie Lang. Thank you for being with us today. (Applause.) Thanks for being part of a growing American economy. Congratulations.
To Jacob, John, and Julie, I mentioned you not just to make you stand up in front of all your neighbors and friends, but really because you — you're all emblematic — you're emblematic of all the great people who are here today who are demonstrating each and every day that when the American people are able to keep more of what they earn; when businesses have less taxes, less regulation; and we clear the way with free and fair and reciprocal trade, American businesses and American workers can compete and win against any businesses in the world. So give yourselves a big round of applause, because that's what this company and all of you prove every day. (Applause.) It's true.
And when that playing field is level, American workers can compete with anybody. That's why, since day one of this administration, this President and our entire team have been working to open up markets across the world.
The President has been doing it on a very simple principle. He has a word that he really likes when it comes to trade; it's called "reciprocal." He really believes that people that have access to the most prosperous economy in the history of the world ought to give us the same access to their economy, right? (Applause.) That's what you call reciprocal.
And he brought that principle into our trade negotiations. We renegotiated a trade agreement with South Korea that's been a win for American jobs. He actually just recently signed two new trade agreements with Japan. And we're continuing in negotiations for a free trade agreement with Japan.
And negotiations — I'm sure you've seen in the newspapers — are ongoing with China. And President Trump put China on notice: The era of economic surrender is over. We're going to stand up for American jobs and American workers. (Applause.) We're doing it.
But closer to home, what brings us here today is that President Trump negotiated what, once it's approved, will be the largest trade deal in American history: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The USMCA is, I can tell you, a state-of-the art trade agreement that will increase jobs and opportunities across Wisconsin and across America in everything from manufacturing to farming. It will protect intellectual property. It will promote innovation in business. It truly is an extraordinary agreement.
You know, I was around a lot when the President was negotiating this agreement in his typically subtle way. (Laughter.) Those were a lot of memorable phone calls. (Laughter.) And I'll tell you what: Can I just say, being here in the Badger State — because we had to work out a little arrangement on dairy with Canada — and I'll tell you what: This President stood strong and fought hard for dairy and got a win in the USMCA. (Applause.) We did it. We did it.
Despite the fact that this a — this is a win in the city and on the farm, it's still sitting there on the Democrat Speaker of House's desk.
You know, the truth is, you all see in the newspapers that, these days, Democrats are spending their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment. But the American people deserve better. The American people want Congress to go to work for them. They want Congress to pass the USMCA. (Applause.) So that's really — it's why I came to Wisconsin, to say it's time for the Democrats in Congress to put Wisconsin jobs and Wisconsin workers first.
The time has come for Congressman Ron Kind to tell his colleagues in Congress that Wisconsin and America need the USMCA, and we need it this year. (Applause.)
I mean, there will be plenty of time for politics nest year — next year. We got to get this done. And I really came here to enlist all of your support to reach out to Congressman Kind and Democrats that represent Wisconsin in Washington, D.C. and tell them that.
I mean, did you know that according to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA is going to add like $68 billion to our economy right out of the box? And, we project, conservatively, that it will create more than 175,000 new jobs.
Already this year, this company has exported more than $200 million worth of goods and services to Canada and Mexico alone. And I can tell you, for all the people wearing the red shirts and all the people that make this great company work, that's only going to go grow when the USMCA comes along.
The truth is, the USMCA would — would preserve Uline's duty-free access to Canada and Mexico, and it would simplify the export process, saving this company time and money that can be used to create jobs and grow this business right here in Wisconsin. (Applause.) It's true.
And make no mistake about it: The USMCA would benefit a lot of customers of this company, especially American manufacturers. In fact, 70 percent of the products that this company sells are manufactured right here in the United States.
And the USMCA, we believe, will create nearly 50,000 good manufacturing jobs in this country and give manufacturing workers another raise, in addition to the wage increases we've already seen.
You know, I don't know about the rest of you, but coming from just down the road in Indiana, I was — I remember the days when I had a different job. I was governor of the Hoosier State, and we actually had leaders in Washington, D.C. that said the days of a robust manufacturing economy in America were behind us. Remember?
I mean, we had a President in 2016 who lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs. And in the summer of that election year, 2016, he actually said that those jobs were never going to come back. He asked, famously, "What magic want do you have?" Well, we didn't need a magic wand. We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House. (Applause.) Five hundred thousand manufacturing jobs created and counting. Manufacturing is back. (Applause.)
I get pretty excited about this stuff — (laughter) — because America is prospering. America is growing. And here in the Heartland, where — we do two things well: We make things and we grow things. And this economy is — is booming.
And so the truth is, for — for all of the companies like Uline, for all the suppliers of this company, there's just a lot to gain with USMCA, a lot to benefit the families that work at these companies that are part of your communities. And it's going to make a real difference.
And the truth is, it's going to make a difference for Wisconsin as a whole. I mean, last year, the state of Wisconsin alone exported more than $22 billion in goods to Mexico and Canada, supporting more than 100,000 jobs in this state.
Wisconsin's top two export markets are actually Canada and Mexico. So do the math, everybody. The USMCA is a win for Wisconsin and a win for America, and we got to get it done. (Applause.) We got to get it done.
But I came here today — I came here today, just because it's really going to take all of us to do it — I came to Wisconsin to turn up the heat. I came here to turn up the heat on Congressman Ron Kind and the Democrats in Congress and say: Wisconsin wants the USMCA. That's your message. (Applause.) That's what you got to tell them. I mean, the clock is ticking.
So I want you to reach out and — I want you to reach out to your elected representatives in Washington, D.C. — congressmen and senators. But I can save you a nickel. Okay? You don't need to call Senator Ron Johnson because he's leading the charge for the USMCA in the United States Senate. (Applause.) He is. Great guy.
And you don't need to call my friends, Congressman Bryan Steil or Congressman Glenn Grothman, because they are fighting every day for the USMCA in the House. (Applause.) Would you stand up again? Let's give these two congressmen a big round of applause. They're doing a phenomenal job for Wisconsin. (Applause.) Thank you, guys.
In fact, all the Republican members of the Wisconsin delegation have been standing with him. But these two fellas have been doing an incredible job, and I'm honored that they'd be with us today.
But you know, if you have a minute, you could call Senator Tammy Baldwin. (Laughter.) You could call Congressman Ron Kind. You could call every Democrat that represents Wisconsin in Washington, D.C. and say, "I ran into Mike Pence and he said Wisconsin needs the USMCA." And tell them we need to get it done. (Applause.) Seriously.
Just say, "You know, I was over at Uline the other day. I ran into Mike and he was just" — (laughter) — "just telling me how exciting this thing is." I mean, it's bigger than politics. Okay?
I mean, it seems like Washington, D.C. is always — always seems to find some partisan dividing line through things. But I'm going to tell you something. We have every confidence that when Speaker Nancy Pelosi puts the USMCA on the floor of the Congress, it's going to pass and it's going to pass on a bipartisan basis. Because when you get past all the politics and all the posturing, people know it's a win.
So that's what I want you to tell them. I mean, pick up the phone, make a call. Send an email. Tweet. (Laughter.) But tell the Democrats representing Wisconsin in Washington, D.C. that Wisconsin and America need the USMCA. Will you do that for me? (Applause.) I need you to do it.
So, thanks for coming out today. I won't keep you much longer. And I really am looking forward to meeting as many of you as — as time permits.
And while I have you, let me just take the opportunity to say thank you, on behalf of my little family, for the privilege of serving as your Vice President. It is the greatest honor of my life. (Applause.) So thank you, Wisconsin. Thank you. Thank you for your confidence. (Applause.) Thank you for your confidence you placed in our little family and in this President, with whom I'm so honored to serve.
And in the days and weeks ahead, I'll make you a promise: This President and his Vice President are going to keep working our hearts out to earn that confidence. (Applause.)
I mean, I promise you, whatever the Democrats in Washington want to spend their time on, President Donald Trump and I are never going to stop fighting for you. We're never going to stop fighting for the agenda the people of Wisconsin elected us to advance. (Applause.)
And let me say one other thing if I can, before I go. We have a great opportunity with the USMCA. And I really do hope — I hope you leave here with a little burden on your heart about going out and telling that story. The USMCA would be great for Wisconsin. It'd be great for America.
But, you know, it's — in these divided times, I think it also will show the world that we can — we can still get important things done that benefit all of the American people. And maybe you'll send that message too when you reach out and call.
I mean, President Trump drove a hard bargain with Mexico and Canada to put American jobs and American workers first. And I promise you, everybody wins under the USMCA.
And I really think we have an opportunity. We have an opportunity to demonstrate that, in these divided times, that we can still work together in our nation's capital when we put the American people first.
And lastly, let me also say — you know, I have — I hear a lot of people talking about the things that divide our country these days. But I'll always be convinced, as long as I live, as I've traveled all across this country in this role and in my 60 times around the sun as an American, I'll always believe that there's — there will always be more that unites us in these United States of America than could ever divide us. And chief among that is faith. (Applause.)
So, Wisconsin, I want to encourage you to have faith. Have faith in this President and the agenda that Wisconsin voted to advance. It's making this country stronger and more prosperous and safer than ever before. Have faith in all these elected representatives that have been standing with this President at every level to keep the promises that we made to the people of this state, the people of this nation.
Have faith in your neighbors and friends in the days ahead that when we continue to deliver on an agenda that's making the nation more secure and more prosperous, the American people can see through all of the noise and choose the better path — the path to a stronger, more prosperous America.
And finally, have faith in the one who set this miracle of democracy on these wilderness shores so long ago. Because I truly do believe that as we put our trust in Him, the best days for the greatest nation on Earth are yet to come. (Applause.)
And with President Donald Trump in the White House, with the USMCA under our belt, with the strong support of the people of Wisconsin, and with God's help, I know we're going to make this state safer than ever before. We're going to make Wisconsin and America more prosperous than you could possibly imagine. And in a word, we're going to keep America great. (Applause.)
Thanks, everybody. Thanks for coming out. Let's go get the USMCA done, and get it done this year. Thank you and God bless you.
Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/334930