South Jordan, Utah - Remarks by Vice President Pence on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Utah! (Applause.)
To Governor Gary Herbert, Secretary Wilbur Ross, to Senator Mitt Romney, members of Congress, to Mayor Ramsey, all of our friends here at South Jordan and all across this state: It — it is a joy to be with you today, and especially to be with this incredible team here at Merit Medical. Thank you so much for that warm welcome. (Applause.)
And it is great to be back in one of the most dynamic, growing, family-friendly states in America. It is great to be back in the great state of Utah. (Applause.)
And I really am grateful for Merit Medical hosting us today. And let me recognize a truly great American I’ve had the chance to begin to get to know. He has a great family and a great American story. I’m told he actually moved to Salt Lake City penniless, lived in his car. He answered the call to serve our country in uniform. He would go on to join the United States Army and become a Green Beret. He went on to found and lead this incredible company.
Would you all just join me in thanking the founder, chairman, and CEO of Merit Medical, Fred Lampropoulos? (Applause.) Fred, take a bow, will you? Wow. (Applause.) Great job, Fred. Wow.
It really is great to be here with so many friends. You know, I’ve got to be honest with you, I served as governor of the state of Indiana at the same time that Governor Herbert was leading the state of Utah, and I’m frankly glad I don’t have to compete with him anymore. (Laughter.)
And — but I’ve seen his leadership, and I know he and his family are preparing a little bit, a year from now, to winding up an extraordinary career of consequence and integrity that’s made a difference to the people of Utah. So let me just take this opportunity to thank Governor Gary Herbert and First Lady Jeanette Herbert for your extraordinary career of service to the people of Utah. (Applause.)
And let me thank another friend of mine who is with us today who also — I just — I was a little disappointed to hear he’s going to be wrapping up his career in the United States Congress. I know him to be a man of integrity, a devoted member of his church. He’s dedicated a career in the Congress to unlocking the full potential of Utah and America’s natural resources. He’s made a difference for this state, and I saw firsthand in my years in Congress the difference he made in America.
Would you all join me in thanking Congressman Rob Bishop for his 16 years of distinguished service in the Congress? Stand up, Rob. (Applause.) Great job.
And in addition to all of those I’ve named and acknowledged from the podium, I have to tell you it is a special joy to be here with a man that I consider a mentor and a friend, whose conservative values and courage and grace represented, for decades, not only the best of Utah, but the best of America. Would you all join me in thanking Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, former Senator Orrin Hatch? (Applause.) Orrin, stand up. Take a bow, will you? (Applause.) Great to see you.
And speaking of friends of mine, let me mention another great friend of Orrin Hatch’s and a great friend of the state of the Utah, and a man who has been fighting every single day to keep the promises that he made to the people of this great state. I bring greetings today from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, from our very first day in office, working with our partners in the Congress, this President has been working to keep the promises that he made to the American people. He promised this country that we’re going to get back to hiring in America and growing in America. And says — the President said, in his words, “When we grow American manufacturing, we don’t [just] grow our jobs and wages… [we] grow the American spirit.” And we went right to work, early in this administration, to unleashing the full potential of American free enterprise.
This President promised to eliminate regulations which weren’t necessary to improve public safety and were killing jobs. He promised to pursue trade deals for our country that will put American jobs and American workers first. He promised to unleash American energy. And he promised to cut taxes for working families and small businesses all across the land. And almost three years later, one thing is clear: President Donald Trump has delivered for the American people. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it. I don’t have to tell all of you here in Utah that the American economy is booming. And this President — this President has brought all that about by putting into practice all the things that we said we would do.
You know, in fact, the President signed the largest tax cut and tax reform in American history, with the strong support of our partners in the Congress and Senator Orrin Hatch’s great leadership. Now the typical family of four here in Utah is saving about $2,000 a year.
We rolled back red tape. In fact, President Trump has signed more bills rolling back federal red tape, than any President in American history. And we’ve actually delivered more than $33 billion in regulatory savings for businesses small and large all across America. (Applause.)
We’ve also been busy unleashing American energy, as the President promised. We withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. And I’m proud to report that the United States today is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And next year, America will become a net exporter of energy for the first time in 70 years. We are on the road to energy independence. (Applause.)
And as the President announced when he was here in Utah back in December of 2017 to the people of this great state, we reversed that federal land-grab and reducing the size of Bears Ears National Monument, making a real difference for the people of this state and for access to our great national treasures.
You know, for all that we’ve done — rolling back red tape, cutting taxes, unleashing American energy — the truth is — fighting for those fair and reciprocal trade deals — the results have been nothing short of remarkable.
Since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small have created 6.2 million new jobs, including 125,000 new jobs right here in the state of Utah. (Applause.) That’s something.
The unemployment rate has hit a 50-year low. The unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanic Americans has hit the lowest level ever recorded. The American Dream is working again for every American. (Applause.)
More Americans are working today than ever before. And the
average household has seen their income go up by more than $5,000 in the last two and a half years. And wages are rising at their fastest pace in nearly a decade. And maybe most meaningful to the President and me is that, frankly, as those wages are rising all across the board, they’re actually rising most rapidly for blue-collar, hardworking Americans. That means the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.)
And despite — so despite some of the wishful thinking of some of the naysayers out in the mainstream media and on the American Left, you all know here in Utah the American economy is strong, and the outlook for the American economy remains strong as well.
In fact, earlier this month, leading retailers reported strong sales and earnings. Consumer spending posted its strongest reading since March. And even with global market volatility, our stock market is still up by more than 30 percent since Election Day. It’s making the 401(k)s and retirements stronger and more secure for every American.
And Utah is — Utah is all a part of this economic boom. Today, Utah actually has the fifth-lowest unemployment rate of any state in America. And Utah has been consistently ranked as one of the most economically dynamic states in America. Congratulations. (Applause.)
And when it comes to manufacturing, you know, it really is amazing to think the last administration actually saw America lose about 200,000 manufacturing jobs — good paying jobs, just like we see here at Merit Medical.
In fact, the last President said we’d never get those jobs back. Do you remember? He said, and I quote — he said, “what magic wand do you have” to bring back manufacturing jobs?
Well, you all here in Utah know we didn’t need a “magic wand.” We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House because manufacturing has come roaring back all across America. (Applause.) It’s true.
Since Election Day, we’ve actually seen businesses just like this one create more than 500,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, including more than 12,000 jobs right here in the state of Utah.
In fact, 2018 was not only the best year for manufacturing job creation in more than 20 years, it also marked the highest level of optimism among manufacturers ever recorded.
Manufacturing is back all across Utah and all across America. And, frankly, it’s companies like Merit Medical that are making it happen all across this country. And that’s why it’s a real privilege to be here with this great team.
Merit Medical, I’m told, was founded here just over 20 years ago, but it’s amazing to think how far they’ve come in such a short period of time. And as I said, it started small. Fred and the team here had big dreams.
In fact, Fred and I were talking about the fact that when the company was only a couple of years old, he purchased 10,000 acres of property next to its headquarters because he knew this company was going to succeed and grow and expand. Now that is faith and optimism by a real American. (Applause.) I love it. Wow.
And this homegrown business is a leading innovator in the medical device industry — so important to the American economy. This is why every single year since its founding, with the great team that’s assembled here and behind me, Merit Medical has added employees and grown its revenues. And today, this incredible company has around 4,000 hardworking employees all across America and thousands more that support the efforts of this company around the world. I’m hearing that revenues have grown from more than $250 million, 10 years ago, to about a billion projected this year.
Merit Medical is a great company. And why I admire the leadership — but Fred would be the first one to say Merit Medical is a great company because it has great people at every level of this company. So give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.)
Great people like, I’m told, one of the company’s supervisors, who’s another great example of the American Dream. She immigrated, I’m told, from Venezuela over 20 years ago and within a year found an entry-level job right here at Merit Medical.
Since then, she worked her way up through the ranks. She was one of the first employees to join Merit Medical’s ESL program. She’s always been willing — I’m informed — to go the extra mile to help her colleagues, including staying late and coming in early. And today she plays a critical role in helping this company produce some of the finest medical devices in the world.
And when she isn’t here at work, she can usually be found volunteering at her church, spending time with her son when he visits from San Francisco. She’s just one of the great people that makes Merit Medical a great company. So would you all join me in showing your appreciation for Mariela Pacheco. Where are you, Mariela? Stand up and take a bow. (Applause.) What a great story. Thank you. Good job.
Also, another great member of the team is a Regulatory Affairs Specialist here at Merit Medical. Before he started working here three years ago, he served our nation in the 172nd Infantry Division in the United States Army. He was a combat medic deployed for a year to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He earned numerous awards for courage in the line of duty, including saving the lives of two Afghan civilians. And even after coming home, he’s continued to dedicate his career to saving lives and easing the pain of others here as part of the great team at Merit Medical.
And even more important than being an excellent member of this team, people that know him know he is a devoted father to Autumn and Vincent, a dedicated husband to Denise. And I understand — I was just told that they’re celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary next week. So would you join me in recognizing a great American veteran and an essential member of the Merit Medical team, Zach Borla. Take a bow, will you? What a great guy. Thanks, Zach. (Applause.) Great.
Mariela and Zach, I know, are emblematic to — of all of you in this room. And so I just wanted to call a few of them out, just so we could reflect to people that are looking on the caliber of men and women that make a company like this work. Each one of you and your efforts every day are not just renewing a great American company, you’re really renewing the American economy and you’re living the American Dream.
Everything we’ve accomplished in the last two and a half years, it’s a testament to what each and every one have done — have done with the policies that we’ve been able to advance by reducing taxes, rolling back regulation, unleashing energy, and fighting for free and fair trade deals. It still takes the American people and the leadership of people working at great companies like this to take advantage of it.
So, first and foremost, let me just say thank you and congratulations to all of you here at the Merit Medical team on a job well done creating jobs and opportunities in this community and all across America.
But I’m also here because we need your help. To keep this great state growing, we need Utah to keep standing with this President and all of our partners in Congress, for an agenda that that’s making Utah and America more prosperous than ever before.
We need Utah to say yes to President Trump’s vision of less taxes, less regulation, and more energy, and a free and fair trade deal. And we need Utah to keep saying no to those who want to turn the clock back to more government, more taxes, less freedom, and fewer jobs. We need to stand strong for what’s working for Utah and America. (Applause.)
And what brings me here today, as you’ve already heard, is we need Utah to say yes to free and fair trade that puts American jobs and American workers first. And we need Utah to tell Congress it’s time to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and pass it this year. (Applause.)
To keep the American economy rolling, President Trump and I know that we’ve got to have a level playing field for American workers by forging trade deals that put America first. And as you heard the Secretary of Commerce say a few moments ago, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing since the first days of this administration.
From Europe to the Indo-Pacific, we’ve been negotiating deals that promote free, fair, and — the President’s favorite word — reciprocal trade. “Reciprocal” being a very simple idea. That is: We want to have the same access to your market that you have to ours, same access to your consumers and businesses that you have to ours.
And the truth is, from early in this administration, the President has taken steps to do just that. We renegotiated our trading agreement with South Korea. We’ve opened up other areas for agricultural goods and manufactured goods. We’ve begun discussions with Japan for a free trade agreement, begun discussions with the European Union for the same. And when the UK finishes their work in Brexit, we’re going to have a free trade agreement with the UK.
And beyond all of that, we also put China on notice that “the era of economic surrender is over.” That America will no longer tolerate our trade deficits and the theft of intellectual property in our trading relationship with China. (Applause.)
Beyond all that — what brings us here today though is that this President also negotiated the largest trade deal in American history. That’s the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. And I’ve been traveling all across this country because it’s time that we get the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement done and get it done this year.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will replace NAFTA. And I expect, here in Utah, just like my home state of Indiana, I don’t need to tell you about NAFTA. It was adopted back in the mid-1990s, and it had an impact on communities around the land. While there were some winners, the truth is, that in the years since NAFTA was adopted, 80,000 factories across the United States closed. I saw entire communities in the state of Indiana literally hollowed out as automotive component manufacturers closed down factories that had been there for decades, and moved them south of the border. And nearly a million good-paying manufacturing jobs went overseas since NAFTA was approved.
But when Congress passes the USMCA, those days are over. I promise you. (Applause.)
You know, the USMCA, we know, is going to benefit 2 million American manufacturing jobs. According to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA is going to add nearly $70 billion in investments and create another 176,000 American jobs. And that’s just for starters.
And Utah has a lot to gain. More than 50,000 jobs here in the state of Utah depends on exports. Utah already exports more than $2.5 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico. That’s nearly 20 percent of all of Utah’s exports every single year. And under the USMCA, I can tell you, those numbers are only going to grow, creating even more jobs in this community and this state; more opportunity; and more prosperity across Utah.
But it’s essential that we get the USMCA passed by the Congress because, under the USMCA, as the President loves to say, the American worker is going to win like never before. But we’ve got to get it done. The clock is ticking.
And the President has done his job. Mexico and Canada are doing their job. And now it’s time for Congress to do their job and pass the USMCA, and pass it this year. (Applause.)
We just can’t let the USMCA get caught up in the politics that seems to divide every issue in Washington, D.C., these days. I mean, I served in the Congress for 12 years alongside Rob, and it’s, frankly, as divided as I’ve ever seen. I mean it’s not as divided as the — as next week’s Holy War between BYU and Utah, but it’s really pretty divided. I was told that joke would work. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I mean, the truth — yeah, thank you. (Laughter.) That will get it started.
I mean, it is a divided time on Capitol Hill, but the USMCA is an opportunity for a bipartisan achievement. I mean, it’s going to be a win for every American — Republican, Democrat, independent — in the city and on the farm. That’s why we got to get it done.
And I’m here to tell you that you call can make a difference in this. I mean, Utah is one of the most dynamic states in the country. American knows that Utah knows how to grow jobs. So Washington needs to hear from Utah, and hear from Utah right now.
But let me save you a nickel, and just take a moment to thank Senator Mitt Romney and Senator Mike Lee for leading the charge on the USMCA. Thank you, Senator Romney. Thank you for your strong support. (Applause.)
And we’re also grateful to your delegation — a bipartisan delegation in Washington, D.C. We appreciate the support of
Congressman Rob Bishop and Congressman Ben McAdams, and the Utah delegation. But Congressman McAdams, who’s in the majority in the Congress today, I’m going to ask you favor: When you get back to Washington, D.C., tell Speaker Pelosi to put the USMCA on the floor, and tell her that Utah and America need the USMCA this year. (Applause.)
I mean, the truth is — and your senators and the congressmen know — if the USMCA gets a vote on the floor of House of Representatives, it’s going to pass. And it’s going to pass by a bipartisan vote. And we need the Congress to take it up. And so I want you not just to — not just to appreciate the support you’ve had here in Utah, but I know Utah’s influence spans the nation.
So spread the word all across the country. And tell people that here in Utah this is a priority for your economy. Tell people to reach out their elected representatives all across this country. Tell them just how important it is that we seize this win for the American people. It’s time for Congress to step up and vote on the USMCA. And it’s time that all of America and all of America’s representatives heard from the people of Utah.
And in the days and weeks that lie ahead, I’ll make you a promise: President Trump and I are never going to stop fighting for the policies that have revived this American economy and particularly revived American manufacturing. We’re going to keep fighting for all the hardworking people of this country. And those men and women are really never far from our hearts, I can tell you that. And I’m talking about people who — who make things, who grow things.
In fact, when I was governor of the state of Indiana, I used to say that I come from a place where you — we do two things well: We make things and we grow things. And that’s true here in Utah. It’s true all across America. And it’s those Americans that we’re fighting for every day: people who spend their days building more than a Facebook page; who read the Deseret News, not the New York Times; people who put on a uniform every day to keep us safe at home and abroad.
I’m talking about people who put faith, and family, and freedom first. I’m really talking about every American, regardless of race or creed or color, who wants to work hard and live the American Dream. We’re going to keep fighting for every one of the promises we made to all those hardworking Americans until the American Dream is a reality for every American. That’s my promise. (Applause.)
So thank you for coming out today. It’s a great honor for me to be here and to be back in Utah today. I look forward to meeting as many of you as time permits.
And while we’re at it, would you just join me — give another round of applause to Merit Medical for opening up this incredible place for today’s important discussion. (Applause.)
You know, this is actually my first time back in Utah since before Election Day 2016. And it’s humbling to stand before you today. It truly is.
I mean, you’ve got to understand, when you look at Mike Pence — I’m just a small-town guy from Southern Indiana, grandson of an Irish immigrant. I grew up in a family that ran a gas station business and I dreamed someday of representing my hometown in the Congress of the United States. I never imagined I’d have the chance to lead my state as Governor. And I can’t even begin to describe to you what an honor it is to be able to serve you.
So let me just say to Utah, to all of you gathered here: Thank you for the honor of serving as your Vice President. It’s the greatest honor of my life. (Applause.)
So I leave here today with renewed confidence — confidence and faith. Faith in the good people of Utah and in America that, when we’re given the opportunity, when we’re given the freedom, when we renew our commitment to all of the timeless ideals and values that have always made this country great and strong, that Americans seize the opportunity. It’s what’s happening all across this country today. It’s what’s been happening in Utah for quite a while.
I leave here with faith and confidence in this President and all of those that Utah has elected to Washington, D.C., to represent us at every level. And faith that we’re going to come together. We’re going to get not just this trade deal done, but we’re going to continue to move an agenda that is making America safer, stronger, and more prosperous.
And finally, I leave here today with renewed faith in Him who said those words that we’ve had above the mantel in our home for 20 years — the words from the Book of Jeremiah that read: “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That He who made those promises will yet bless this one nation under God. I have faith.
And with your continued support, with Utah’s great example and leadership, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God’s help: We will make Utah and America more prosperous than ever before. We will make Utah and America safer than ever before. And to borrow a phrase, we will keep America great.
Thank you very much. (Applause.) God bless you. God bless Utah and America. Let’s get it done.