Duryea, Pennsylvania - Remarks by Vice President Pence on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Pennsylvania! (Applause.) To Secretary Wilbur Ross, Congressman Dan Meuser, Congressman Fred Keller, and my friend, Jay Timmons, and above all, to Jim and Rob and all of the incredible men and women of SCHOTT North America: It is great to be back in the Keystone State. Thank you so much for that warm welcome. (Applause.)
And before we get started, allow me to bring greetings from another friend of mine — a man who loves the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and who’s been fighting every day for the last three years for manufacturing in this state and all across this country. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
And thanks for that great warm welcome. It really is great to be here — be here with all of you, and also with a company that’s really creating opportunities, not only in this community, but literally all across America.
It is remarkable to think that, 50 years ago, SCHOTT opened its first optics location in the United States of America, right here in Pennsylvania. Fifty years ago, this year. (Applause.)
Now they have facilities all across the country, but this is where it all started. And this is where the confidence of this company grew in the hardworking people of this country.
Since then, this facility, I’m told, has expanded nearly five times over. You’ve created more than 200 high-skilled jobs. And that’s in addition to more than 1,000 other jobs that SCHOTT has created across America. So let’s hear it for a great American success story: SCHOTT North America. (Applause.)
And I had a chance to meet a number of members of your team that all ended up in the balcony. (Laughter.) Give them a round of applause. This is a great group of people. (Applause.) Thank you so much. As I told them — as I told them, this is a great company. It’s a great corporate citizen — the second largest employer in this community.
But there’s also something very special about this place — because from day one, 50 years ago, this company, this facility has provided the support and the equipment to the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. And you have done it with great professionalism. (Applause.)
In fact, I expect there’s more than a few veterans, men and women who served in the armed forces who are here with us today, members of this team and in this community. If you served in our armed forces, if you’re able, would you mind standing up? Just stand up and let us say thank you one more time. (Applause.) Thank you for your service. Thank you for your service. Thank you.
I mean, it’s amazing when you think about what this company has been providing to our warfighters around the world. You make those rifle sites that make it possible for our team to accomplish their mission in the field. You make glass for the Bradley tanks, the Apache helicopters, as well as parts for night vision goggles and for mission [missile] guidance systems.
And it’s amazing to think about the difference that what you do here, what you create here, has made in securing this nation and providing for our national defense. So give yourselves another round of applause for 50 years of making our warfighters and making America safer. (Applause.) Great job.
And also, you know, I started today at a big international conference on space. And I’m proud to report to you, under President Trump’s leadership, America is leading in space once again. We’re going back to the Moon and then to Mars. (Applause.) And I got a feeling SCHOTT is going with us. (Laughter and applause.) Am I right? It’s true. It’s true.
I don’t know if you knew this, Wilbur, but products made right at this facility have supported America’s space program from the very beginning. Your products aren’t just used around the world, they’re literally used across the solar system. (Laughter.)
It’s remarkable to think products here in this building have gone from Pennsylvania to the Moon, and even to the outer reaches of this solar system.
But I was pleased to bring with me today, also, a letter of congratulations from that friend that I mentioned. Fifty years of contributing to our national defense. Fifty years of committing to the American space program. I am honored today to deliver a letter congratulating SCHOTT North America from the President of the United States. Congratulations to this great team and this great company. (Applause.)
And I’m glad to hear this success — 50 years — is just what you all here at SCHOTT call a good start, right? (Laughter.) I mean, the truth is — the truth is this company is thriving. And under President Trump’s leadership, America is thriving, our economy is booming.
I mean, over the last three years, this company alone has invested another $32 million just in this facility, expanded the workforce here by 15 percent, and seen sales go up by a third. And if there are any jobseekers out there across Pennsylvania, I just heard, walking in here, SCHOTT is hiring if you’re looking for a job. Give them a call. (Applause.) Not that that’s any real surprise. Did you know that there’s more job openings today across this country than there are men and women looking for work in the United States?
And I’m here today to celebrate the success of this company, but also — also to say thank you to each and every one of you for contributing so much to Pennsylvania and so much to the life of this nation.
But I’m also here on the President’s behalf because we’ve got a great opportunity. You’ve heard about it from this podium before, and I mean to talk about it. But before I do that, I want to talk about the progress that we’ve made because of the confidence the people of Pennsylvania placed in this President back in 2016.
You know, when I think of the last three years, I think there’s only one way you can describe it. It’s been three years of action, three years of results. It’s been three years of promises made and promises kept! But we’re just getting started, Pennsylvania! (Applause.)
I mean, seriously, the growth in this company, the growth that we see all across America is a result of the leadership that President Trump and our allies in Congress have been delivering since day one of this administration.
I mean, the President went right to work, from early on. The day after inauguration, we — we went to work to keep those promises. This President actually signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. President Trump has already signed more laws repealing federal red tape than any President in the history of this country, and we’ve unleashed American energy. (Applause.) Incredible.
Did you know, next year, America will be a net exporter of oil for the first time in 75 years? We’re on the road to energy independence. (Applause.)
And in the midst of all of that tax relief, rolling back red tape, unleashing American energy, this President has also been fighting every day. He’s been fighting every day for trade deals that are free and fair and reciprocal, and trade deals that put American jobs and American workers first.
The results have really been remarkable. Since Election Day, businesses just like this one, all across the country, have literally created 6.5 million new jobs. That includes more than 140,000 jobs right here in Pennsylvania. (Applause.) Isn’t that something?
The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanic Americans is the lowest level ever recorded. The American Dream is working again for every American. (Applause.)
And you know what? It’s not just been more jobs, but it’s been better jobs and better pay. Since President Trump was elected, the average American household has seen your disposable income go up, on average, by $5,000 a year.
And maybe most important to the President and me is that wages are rising. Wages are rising today at the fastest pace that they’ve risen in more than 10 years. Maybe most encouraging of all, wages are rising most rapidly for hardworking, blue-collar Americans. The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.) It’s true.
And since President Trump’s election, we’ve seen a real renaissance in manufacturing. I mean, it really is pretty incredible. I mean, you remember the last administration? The President, in the summer of 2016, actually said that 200,000 manufacturing jobs that they’d lost over their eight years in the White House were never coming back.
I remember when President Obama said, “What do you — you have a magic wand you’re going to wave to bring those jobs back?” Well, we didn’t need a magic wand. We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House. Five hundred thousand manufacturing jobs created in the last three years. (Applause.)
Incredible. Including nearly 2,000 manufacturing jobs just in this state alone.
And results like this don’t just happen. The truth is, all of this happens because of the policies that this President and our allies in the Congress have supported every step of the way. But they also have happened — they’ve also happened mostly because, quite frankly, working Americans are the best workers in the world. (Applause.) All of you are driving the boom in this company, in this state, and in this country. (Applause.) It’s true.
People, like a guy I heard about on the way here, who grew up next door in Pittston and who started with SCHOTT immediately after graduating from high school. I’m told he’s actually here with us, with his wife today, who also worked at this facility for 21 years. Today he’s a part of the glass fabrication team.
And I’m actually told — I had to ask twice — but he’s actually celebrating 48 years of service to this company. (Applause.) Would you please join me in thanking Stanley Budzilek? Stanley. Give it up. (Applause.) Give Stanley and his wife a standing ovation, will you? I mean, that’s an incredible commitment to a great company. Wow. Thanks, Stanley. Thanks, Debbie. Wow. That’s incredible.
I’m also told, in addition to these incredible employees that really represent all of you in this great company, we actually have with us more than 100 employees from another great Pennsylvania manufacturer that’s located right across the street. It’s a company that makes electric wheelchairs that are used all across America and provide important service and transportation to Americans (inaudible) of need.
Just like SCHOTT, this company is growing, I’m told, hiring even more Pennsylvanians as we speak. It’s led by the family of none other than my friend, Congressman Dan Meuser. So let’s give a warm welcome to the workers from Pride Mobility Solutions. (Applause.) To a great family and a great company. Thanks, Dan. (Applause.)
To all of those team members, to Stanley and Debbie, and, really, all of you: I just want to — I just want to thank you for what you’re doing, seizing on the opportunity to grow this company and grow this state and grow this nation. I mean, each one of you are proving every single day that as long as the playing field is level, American workers can out-compete, out-innovate, and out-work anybody in the world. And you’re doing it every day. (Applause.) You are.
And that’s why from the first day of this administration, President Trump has been working to open up markets all over the world.
The President renegotiated our trade agreement with South Korea. He signed two new trade agreements with Japan just in the last couple of weeks.
Negotiations with China are ongoing — you see it all in the paper — but President Donald Trump has put China on notice that the era of economic surrender is over. (Applause.) We’re going to stand up for American jobs and American property in our relations with China.
But closer to home, what brings me here today is that this President, now more than a year ago, negotiated the largest trade deal in American history. We call it the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the USMCA. And I was there for a lot of the discussions and a lot of the negotiations. And I’m here to tell you, the man who wrote “The Art of the Deal” drove a hard bargain. He put American jobs and American workers and American agriculture first.
And the truth is, as I stand here today, the USMCA is languishing in the House of Representatives, isn’t it, guys? I mean, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress have refused to bring the USMCA to the floor. You see the headlines. These days, Democrats are spending all their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment, but the American people deserve better. (Applause.) And I came to Pennsylvania to say it’s time for the Democrats in Congress to put Pennsylvania first. It’s time to pass the USMCA. (Applause.) True.
And I came here to tell all of you that it’s — the time has come for Congressman Matt Cartwright to tell his leadership in the Congress that Pennsylvania needs the USMCA and we need it this year. (Applause.)
You know, according to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA is going to add more than $68 billion to our economy, right out of the gate. And they project it’s going to create another 175,000 jobs. That includes nearly 50,000 good manufacturing jobs.
And again, we’re not just talking about creating more jobs but better jobs. According to the same report, under the USMCA, American manufacturing workers are going to get another raise in addition to the wage increases you’ve already seen under the policies advanced by this administration.
I mean, Pennsylvanians today already export more than $15 billion of your goods and services to Canada and Mexico every year. And under the USMCA, as you already heard, that’s only going to grow once we sign it into law. And it’s going to create more jobs and more opportunities here in Pennsylvania.
But, honestly, I can tell you, we got our work cut out for us, men and women. I mean, I just heard that former Vice President Biden is going to be in Scranton tomorrow. And before I got off the airplane, I heard he actually came out against the USMCA. I mean, Joe actually put out a statement saying that, quote, “Pennsylvanians will not…be fooled…by Pence’s blind promotion of Trump’s irresponsible trade war[s].”
Well, Joe, Pennsylvanians will not be fooled. (Applause.) They know the USMCA is a win for Pennsylvania and a win for America. And it’s time you got on board. I mean, the truth is, Pennsylvania lost 51,000 manufacturing jobs when Joe was Vice President. And the people of Pennsylvania know we can do better than NAFTA. They know they deserve better than NAFTA.
So, anyway, if you bump into a familiar face over the next couple of days, tell Joe that Pennsylvania and America need the USMCA and we need it this year. (Applause.) But as I said, it’s going to take all of us to get it done. It really is.
So I came up to Pennsylvania to tell you to turn up the heat, Pennsylvania. Turn up the heat on Congressman Matt Cartwright. Turn up the heat on the Democrats in Congress. Send a message from the Keystone State that we want to put our jobs and our future first. (Applause.)
I mean, the clock is ticking, so I want you to reach out. Reach out to all of our elected officials in Washington, D.C. I mean, tell them — say, “You know, I ran into Mike the other day” — (laughter) — “and he seemed very excited about this USMCA. He told us what it’s going to mean for manufacturing, what it’s going to mean for this economy.” And just tell them how important it is. Set politics aside and do what’s right for Pennsylvania and do what’s right for America.
So call your elected officials. But let me save you a nickel. You don’t need to call Congressman Dan Meuser or Congressman Fred Keller because they’re leading the charge for the USMCA in Washington. (Applause.) Great job.
But I’ll be honest with you, the Democrats representing Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C., could use to hear from you. And tell them to tell Speaker Pelosi to take that trade deal that’s been on her desk for a year and put it on the floor. I mean, we really believe that if Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Matt Cartwright put the USMCA on the floor, it’s going to pass, and it’s going to pass on a bipartisan basis — it truthfully is — because it’s going to be good for every American.
And while you’re at it, after you get done calling those members of the House, you can call Senator Bob Casey and call Senator Pat Toomey, and tell them the USMCA is a win for Pennsylvania, and you’re counting on their support. (Applause.)
And tell them all — tell them all how this agreement is going to create more jobs, more manufacturing jobs. It’s going to increase wages all across Pennsylvania and all across America.
So, thanks for — thanks for hearing me out on that. I’ve been traveling all over the country talking about the USMCA. I’ve been traveling with the Secretary of Commerce, visiting manufacturing sites — I’ll be in Wisconsin a little bit later this week — just because I know that, for all the progress that we’ve made in this economy, that’s just what this businessman-turned-President calls a “good start.”
You know, one of the most amusing things that I ever hear when I’m traveling around the country — and I heard it today at the airport when I landed — is they say, “Tell the President to just keep going.” (Applause.) You know?
But let me tell you, Pennsylvania, that’s something you never have to tell President Donald Trump. All the reverse is stripped out of that pick-up truck. It just goes forward. And we’re going to keep fighting for jobs in Pennsylvania and America. (Applause.) I’m telling you.
But thanks for coming out today. And I look forward to meeting as many of you as time permits before I’m headed out.
And in the days and weeks ahead, I’ll make you a promise: Whatever Democrats in Washington, D.C., want to spend their time doing, President Trump and I are never going to stop fighting to keep the promises that we made to the people of Pennsylvania. We’re never going to stop working to grow this economy and make America more safe, more prosperous, and secure. We’re never going to stop delivering on that agenda of a strong national defense, secure borders, conservatives on our courts at every level, and jobs, jobs, jobs. (Applause.)
So we’re going to keep going forward, and we’re going to keep fighting. And I have to — I have to believe, the confidence of people of Pennsylvania — the confidence of people of Pennsylvania who carried us in 2016 is carrying us to this day.
Because the truth is, I have — I have faith. I have faith in this President that Pennsylvania said yes to — that, every single day, he’s going to keep fighting to do all the things that have made this nation more secure and more prosperous.
I have faith in all of you and the people of this country. When given the opportunity to expand and create growth, expand opportunities for yourselves and your families, make your communities more prosperous, the American people seize on that opportunity.
And finally, in these too divided of times, I have that other kind of faith. You know, it seems like every time I turn on the television, people are talking about what divides the people of this country. But I’ll always believe that there’s always been more that unites us in these United States of America than will ever divide us. And chief among that is faith.
And with faith in Him who planted this miracle of democracy on these wilderness shores, I know the best days for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and America are yet to come.
So let’s go to work, Pennsylvania. Let’s go to work with confidence and faith. Let’s keep advancing the policies that will make this country safer and more prosperous than ever before.
And with President Trump in the White House, with your continued support, with the USMCA signed into law, with strong support from our allies in Congress, and with God’s help, we’re going to make Pennsylvania safer than ever before. We’re going to make Pennsylvania and America more prosperous than you could possibly imagine. And to borrow a phrase, we’re going to keep making America great again.
Thanks, everybody. God bless you. God bless Pennsylvania. And God bless America.