Remarks by the Vice President at a "USMCA: A Better Deal for American Workers" Event in Louisa, Virginia
Well, hello, Virginia! (Applause.) Thank you all for that wonderful welcome. And would you all just join me in thanking an incredible public servant: the Treasurer of the United States of America and a woman whose life story is an inspiration to millions, Jovita Carranza. Thank you. (Applause.) What an amazing leader.
And we've got some other great leaders here — like Governor George Allen is with us today. (Applause.) Two great allies of this administration: Congressman Rob Wittman and Congressman Denver Riggleman. (Applause.)
It is so great to be back in the Old Dominion State, and especially to be here with all the incredible men and women of Patriot Industries — (applause) — a company living the American Dream, because of all of you.
It really is great to be with so many friends. And I want to thank Tom and Sa- — give Tom and Sarah Click a round of applause, will you? This is a great family and a great story. (Applause.) And I just met their three beautiful children, and, more importantly, I met Tom's mom. Give her a round of applause. (Applause.) I know how proud she is.
So many friends that are gathered today, and so many that came today that couldn't be here, but I hope they're able to look on a little bit later. I want to thank you all for coming out. I want to thank you for this warm Virginia welcome.
And before I get started, allow me to bring greetings from another friend of mine — someone who I know loves the state of Virginia and has been fighting every day to keep the promises that he made to the people of this great state. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, it really is a privilege to be here today on the President's behalf with men and women in this great state and with a company that's creating so many great opportunities here in Virginia.
It was remarkable to think, you know, when Tom and Sarah got started — Patriot Industries — they started with just four things. I'm told: 1,000 square feet of leased space, a hand threading machine that they bought on the Internet. Nine years later, thanks to their leadership and your hard work, Patriot Industries sells its products all over the world. (Applause.)
From that 1,000 square feet, now 75,000 square feet of space, $4 million in facilities and equipment, and Patriot has created more than 60 good-paying Virginia jobs. (Applause.) Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you, Patriot. Let's give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) Great job.
You know, it really is a story of the American dream. You know, I couldn't be more pleased to hear this company is growing even stronger. I'm told Patriot Industries is currently planning to build a new factory in Houston, which will create dozens of more jobs. And, for anybody looking on, I'm also proud to report: Patriot Industries is hiring right now, here in the state of Virginia. (Applause.)
So I came here today to say congratulations on all of your success. And also to just say thank you. Thank you to a great company. Thank you for your contributions to this community, to the economy of this state, and the economy of this nation.
But I'm also here on the President's behalf because we've got a great opportunity before us. Before I talk about that, let me — let me talk about the progress that we've made over the last three years, thanks to the leadership that so many of you supported across the state of Virginia three short years ago.
You know, when I think of all the days that have passed since Election Day, 2016, I think there's only one way you can describe it. It's been three years of action. (Applause.) It's been three years of results. (Applause.) It's been three years of promises made and promises kept. (Applause.) But we're just getting started, Virginia. That's why I'm here today.
I mean, think about it. From very early on, this President said we could revive the American economy; we could get this –this economy of Virginia and America rolling again. And right out of the gate — with the strong support of our allies in Congress, like those two great congressmen that are gathered with us here today — this President signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. (Applause.)
We cut taxes for working families, for businesses just like this one. In fact, when I arrived today, Tom told me — he said he can point at that factory floor, and he said, "The growth in this company and our ability to purchase this advanced equipment is directly owing to the tax cuts that President Donald Trump signed into law." It's working. It's working.
And I'm proud to report to you, this President's been cutting red tape at a record level. President Donald Trump has actually signed more bills rolling back federal red tape already than any President in American history. (Applause.)
And under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over and we're on the road to energy independence. You know that next year, for the first time in 75 years, America is going to be a net exporter of oil and natural gas around the world. (Applause.) Incredible.
And in the midst of all of it, you have a fighter in the White House who's been frighting — fighting for free, fair and reciprocal trade that puts American jobs and American workers first. (Applause.)
And the results of that agenda really been remarkable. I don't have to tell you, in a growing company like Patriot, this economy is booming. I mean, since Election Day, 2016, businesses large and small have created 6.7 million new jobs. That includes 92,000 jobs right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Applause.) That's real results.
The unemployment rate across the country is at a 50-year low. In fact, right now, the unemployment rate is below 5 percent in 48 states, and below 4 percent in 35 states. This economy is roaring. (Applause.) Here in Virginia, it's 2.7 percent unemployment. (Applause.) Unbelievable.
And, you know, the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanic Americans is the lowest level ever recorded in American history. (Applause.) The American Dream is working again for every American.
And, you know, it's not just been about more jobs — although there have been a lot more jobs. (Laughter.) It's been about better jobs. I mean, since Election Day, 2016, the average American household has seen disposable income go up by more than $5,000 a year. It's the fastest pace in a decade. And what's remarkable is that wages are rising across the board. And I can tell you personally: For the President and me, it means the most to us that wages are rising most rapidly for hardworking, blue collar Americans. The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.) This economy is working for working Americans.
And since the President's election, we've actually seen nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs created all across this country, including 12,000 manufacturing jobs right here — right here in Virginia. It really is quite a contrast.
Remember, the last administration, we had a President in the White House, the summer 2016, who had lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs on their watch? It's amazing. I mean, remember what he said? He said he wasn't — he didn't know how you were going to bring those manufacturing jobs back. Remember President Obama said, "What do you have some magic wand?" (Laughter.)
Well, we didn't need a magic wand. We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House — 500,000 manufacturing jobs all across America. (Applause.) Manufacturing is back.
And you know, the truth is results like these don't just happen. They happen because of the policies that you put — that you put your confidence in in 2016, in electing that President and electing strong allies for us on Capitol Hill.
But we also know — the President and I know: First and foremost, more economic freedom, letting people keep more what they earn, letting businesses be able to invest and to create jobs, fighting for fairer trade deals, rolling back red tape — all of that just creates an opportunity. The reason America is booming, mostly, is because we have the hardest-working people in the world in the United States of America. The American worker, and American businesses are driving the boom in this economy. (Applause.)
But, you know, I know Tom would be the first to say that what's made Patriot a success is the people of this company. You know, like — like, I'm told, a proud Marine who grew up in Charlottesville. Deployed to the Mediterranean. I was told on the way here, he's one of the first employees hired by this company, eight years ago. And today he's a line lead. So for his service to this country in uniform and for his incredible contributions to the success of this company, would you join me in showing your appreciation for Corporal Thomas Bell? Where are you Tom? (Applause.) Great job. Thank you, Tom. Thank you. Great job. Great job. Semper Fi, Tom.
And I'm told there's another veteran who's with us today, part of this team. He deployed to Afghanistan as a part of the legendary 101st Airborne, the Screaming Eagles. Today, he serves as a director of production. He's made an incredible difference in the life of this nation and the life of this company. Join me in thanking Specialist Sean Northcutt. Where are you, Sean? (Applause.) Great job, Sean. Thanks for your service.
In fact, I know from what Jovita said when I stepped up to the podium, what I heard on the way here about the incredible contributions of men and women who have worn the uniform have made to the life of this nation and this company. So, if you're an employee here at Patriot, and you served in our armed forces, would you just stand up today and let us — give us one more chance to say thank you for all you've done for this nation. The veterans among the employees of Patriot, would you just stand up? (Applause.) Thank you for your service.
In fact, how about any of the veterans of the United States Armed Forces who are with us today? (Applause.) There we go. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your service.
It's amazing to think this company has been rolling its sleeves up and growing. And it's been been attracting — it's had a strong veterans hiring policy, attracting great men and women to this company. It's a testament to them and to their dedication — dedication to this country.
You know, I'm told this company gives an interview to every veteran who applies here because of the gratitude that they feel for the contributions that our veterans have made, and also for the respect that they have for every man and woman who served in the uniform of the United States. So thank you for that, Tom. (Applause.)
You know, Tom and Sean and all of you stood up are great veterans, great people that made a difference in the life of this nation. And all of you who are serving in this country — company have made a tremendous difference in the life of this local economy. So I just want to give you all a shout out of thanks. It's an incredible story over the last nine years, it's a story of American success. It is a growing company. So how about a round of applause for all the Patriot employees who are here? Great job. (Applause.)
I mean, all of you are emblematic of the kind of people, the kind of people that really make Virginia business grow and expand. And you show us, each and every day, in a company like this one, that when the playing field is level, American workers can outcompete, out-innovate, and outwork anybody in the world. (Applause.)
That's why, from the first day of this administration — and you just heard our panel talk about it — President Trump has been working to open up markets all over the world. As I stand before you today, the President has renegotiated our trade agreement with South Korea, opening up new doors of exports and opportunity between the United States and that long-term ally. We recently announced a new trade agreement with Japan, setting the stage and continuing discussions on a free trade agreement with Japan. And negotiations with China are ongoing, but President Trump has made it clear: the era of economic surrender to China is over. (Applause.) We're going to stand for American jobs and American workers.
But, closer to home, I'm here to talk about what you already heard about from this state. And that is that, now going on a year ago, President Trump negotiated what will be the largest trade deal in American history: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. And I mean to tell you, I was in on a lot of those phone calls and more than a few of those meetings. And I can assure you, the guy that wrote "The Art of the Deal" drove a hard bargain. (Laughter.) He drove a hard bargain with our neighbors to the north and the south. And the USMCA is a win for American jobs and a win for American workers. (Applause.)
He did. He drove a hard bargain to put American manufacturing first, American jobs first, American agriculture first.
But as I stand before you today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — still refuse to bring it to the floor.
I mean, it's amazing to think: This deal was done a year ago, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress are spending all their time on other things, and seem to not have time to take up a deal that's going to make a real difference in the life of this nation.
I mean, the truth of the matter is the Do-Nothing Democrats on Capitol Hill are spending all their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment. But the people Virginia deserve better. (Applause.)
So I came to Virginia to say the time has come for Democrats in Congress to put Virginia jobs and Virginia workers first. The time has come for your congressmen and every Democrat from Virginia to put politics aside and pass the USMCA. (Applause.)
You know, I mean, this is a really big deal, okay? And this is a company, here at Patriot — I mean, I — we already said you're — what you're doing here, you're exporting all over the world. And the truth is, this will be the largest trade deal in the history of this country. It's going to expand exports to Canada and Mexico, but it's also going to create a framework for future trade deals that are all in discussions around the planet.
I mean, according to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA alone will add $68 billion to our economy, right out of the gate, and it'll create nearly 176,000 good-paying jobs. And that includes nearly 50,000 manufacturing jobs. (Applause.)
And as I was saying before, you know, this economy is not just creating more jobs, it's creating better-paying jobs, and that's going to happen under the USMCA. That same commission report tells us, under the USMCA, American manufacturing workers are going to get another raise on top of the wage increases that you've already seen over the last three years.
I mean, Patriot Industries has already sold more than a million dollars' worth of products to Canada. And when that new factory opens up in Houston, you're going to be exporting to Mexico. (Applause.) The USMCA is a win for Patriot, a win for Virginia, and it's a win for America. (Applause.) It is.
And Patriot Industries is just emblematic of so many Virginia businesses. I mean, Canada and Mexico are two of Virginia's top three exports market. And Virginians already export more than $4 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico every year.
Under the USMCA, we know that numbers only going to grow, which is going to create more jobs, more job security, more opportunities, right here in Virginia. But I came here today to tell you it's going to take all of us to get it done. You know, I always used to say that there's two things Congress does well: nothing and overreact. (Laughter and applause.)
So we got to — we've got to get Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to get off the dime and stop doing nothing and pass the USMCA and pass the USMCA this year. (Applause.)
I came here to Virginia to turn up the heat. (Applause.) I came here to Virginia to turn up the heat on Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and all the Democrats in Congress from Virginia, to say that Virginia and America need the USMCA and we want it this year. (Applause.) Are you with me? (Applause.)
I mean, the clock is ticking, everybody. The clock is ticking. We know there's an election year just around the corner. So now's the moment. Now's the moment. This is the time. Oh, you've got an election; let's make sure we vote Republican in the state election. (Applause.) I got it.
But on this one — on this one, I got to tell you, I want you to — I want you to do something — do something good for this company, this community, this state, and this nation. I want you to — I want you to reach out to your elected officials in Washington, D.C. I want you to tell them what the USMCA is going to mean for this company, this community, for this state, and this nation, okay?
I mean, just tell them, "Hey, I — you know, I went over to Patriot on a Saturday. I ran into Mike." (Laughter.) "And I saw — and I saw our great, former great governor, George." How great is George Allen? I love George Allen. He's a great national voice. (Applause.)
You got your great congressmen out here, and they're all telling you the story. This is a big deal. This is bigger than politics. This is not about — this is not about one side or the other. This is about everybody winning with the USMCA.
And so I need you to make a call. But let me — let me save you a nickel. You don't need to call Congressman Rob Wittman and you don't need to call Congressman Denver Riggleman, because they are leading the charge for the USMCA. (Applause.) Would you guys stand up? Stand up and take a bow, will you? These guys are tremendous champions for jobs and this administration's agenda in Washington. Thank you, guys. (Applause.)
In fact, you don't need to call any Republican members of Virginia's delegation on Capitol Hill. They're all good. They're all solid. But we do need you to make a couple other calls. (Laughter.) We do need you to call — we do need you to call Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. (Applause.) And we need you to tell her the time has come to put politics aside and pass the USMCA this year. Will you do it? Give her a call. (Applause.)
In fact, reach out to all the Democrat members in the Virginia delegation on Capitol Hill, and tell them this agreement is going to create more jobs, more manufacturing jobs, and higher wages for people working in this community and all across this state. You can make the difference. You really can.
You know, there's nothing — nothing more powerful in Washington, D.C., than the voice of the American people. So let your voice be heard. Let your congresswoman know that she needs to go up to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and tell her, "Let's move it on. Let's move on this USMCA, and let's get it done."
And after you get done with all those House members, call Senator Mark Warner and call Senator Tim Kaine, and tell them we need the USMCA, and we need it this year. Okay? (Applause.)
So thanks for coming out today. It's a great honor to be before all of you today, and I'm really looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can before I head off to Virginia Beach and talk a little bit about politics and next Tuesday and why it's so important to vote Republican come this Tuesday. (Applause.)
In the days and weeks that lie ahead, I'll make you a promise: Whatever Democrats in Washington, D.C., want to spend their time on, President Donald Trump and I are never going to stop fighting for you and fighting to keep the promises that are making America more secure and more prosperous every day. (Applause.)
And we're never going to stop delivering on an agenda of a strong national defense, secure borders, more judges who will uphold our Constitution, and jobs, jobs, jobs. (Applause.) Never going to quit. There's no quit in him.
I'm telling you what, sometimes people stop me as I'm traveling around this country, and they say, "Tell the President to just keep going." (Applause.) And I tell them, "You know there's — that's actually something you never need to say to President Donald Trump." (Laughter.) As we say back in Indiana, "All the reverse is stripped out of that pickup truck." It only goes forward and we're never going to stop fighting. (Applause.)
So, thanks for coming out. Thank you so much. (Applause.) You know, seeing all the energy in this room, I have to tell you, I leave here today with a — I leave here today with renewed confidence — renewed confidence that the best days for Virginia and America are yet to come. Because I see the resolve, the determination, the optimism, and all your faith.
And also, I want you to know I leave here today with confidence because I have faith. I have faith in this President who — I see it firsthand, every single day — gets up and fights to keep the promises he made to all of you and people across this country.
I have faith in the people in this country. Every time the American people are given a choice between more freedom and more government, we choose more freedom every time. We do. (Applause.)
And finally, I — I have that other kind of faith. (Applause.) You know, in these divided times when — you know, you turn on the TV; it seems like they're always focusing on what divides us in this country. But I'll always believe there's so much more that unites us in these United States than could ever divide us. And Chief among that is faith. (Applause.)
And the one who said so many, so long ago — the one who said so long ago, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future," will yet bless this one nation under God, so long as we trust in Him. (Applause.)
So, thank you again. Thank you all for coming out today. I just know with — with your continued support, and with the USMCA signed into law, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with strong Republican leadership elected and reelected at every level across the state and across this nation, and with God's help, we're going to make Virginia and America safer than ever before. We're going to make Virginia and America more prosperous than you could possibly imagine. And to borrow phrase, we're going to keep America great. Thanks, everybody. (Applause.)
Thanks for coming out. Let's go get the USMCA done. God bless you all. (Applause.)
Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President at a "USMCA: A Better Deal for American Workers" Event in Louisa, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/335190