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U.S. Army Garrison Fort McCoy
Fort McCoy, Wisconsin

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hi everybody.  It’s great to be here at Fort McCoy.  Thank you all for coming out.  The opportunity to be here and really to commend the men and women of the Army here who operate Fort McCoy — it’s amazing to think over 100,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen come through here and prepare to be deployed around the world in this award-winning camp.  It’s made an incredible difference in our national security.

And it was an honor for me to be here not only to thank the members of the U.S. Army, but also to thank their families.  You know, our son is in the Marine Corps, and we think his wife Sarah is just as much committed to serving our country as he is.  They make sacrifices together.  So I want them to know — the families that could be here today — and that we’d want to express our appreciation to all of them.

I’m incredibly proud to serve alongside a President who cares so deeply about the men and women of our armed forces.  President Trump, working with the Congress, has already secured the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.  We’re working with the Congress today to continue to rebuild our military, restore the arsenal of democracy, and give places like Fort McCoy the resources that they need to make sure that our troops are ready for whatever the mission is.  And we’ll continue to work with Congress to do that.

And I wanted to be here today to assure all of these great soldiers of our gratitude, of our admiration, and our commitment to continue to support the great work here at Fort McCoy.

Also was up in Eau Claire today and had the opportunity to talk about this growing economy — an economy that’s seeing manufacturing growing all across this country, including here in Wisconsin.  We believe it’s a result of the hardworking people of this country, but it’s also a result of the fact that this President has been keeping the promises that he made.  We’ve cut taxes, rolled back regulation, unleashed American energy.

But we also believe that having free and fair trade with our neighbors to the north and south, and with nations around the world, is absolutely vital to our continued prosperity.  So I came here to the Heartland to make it clear that the time has come for the Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The USMCA will impact more than 2 million jobs in this country.  It’ll create all-new investment and growth in manufacturing.  And it’ll also be a win for agriculture.  And particularly here in Wisconsin, the USMCA is a win for dairy.  There’s been a period of time in recent years where we literally have seen a — we’ve seen American dairy and dairy here in Wisconsin deal with unfair subsidies, unfair trade practices to our neighbors to the north.  Those are all dealt with in the USMCA.  We’re now leveling the playing field.

And so we’re calling on members of Congress in the Democratic Party; we’re calling on Senator Baldwin; today, I called on Congressman Ron Kind to step up and take a stand for growth in Wisconsin, and a stand for manufacturing and farmers here in Wisconsin and around America, and Congress should pass the USMCA.

So, productive day here in Wisconsin, but before I head back to Washington, I thought I’d stop by.

Q    Thank you, Mr. Vice President.  In Alabama, the governor there just banned abortion.  How do you feel about that?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m proud to be part of pro-life administration.  And President Trump and I have worked to stand for the sanctity of life since the outset of this administration.  And I know many states around the country are embracing life.

But sadly, many states around the country are also adopting extreme pro-abortion legislation.  We recently saw the state New York embrace late-term abortion.  And, frankly, the fact that the United States Senate today refuses even to vote on a bill that would protect children that are born alive is deeply troubling to millions of Americans.

So, I’m proud to stand with this President, proud to be a part of pro-life administration.  And we’ll continue to stand strongly there.

Q    So, what was your greatest takeaway after speaking with area business leaders this morning (inaudible) regarding the USMCA?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, I — Wisconsin is growing; America is growing — 5.8 million new jobs have been created across this country.  But we really do believe that, by passing the USMCA, we’ll make it more possible for farmers and manufacturers and businesses large and small to be able to compete and win as never before.

And I heard that.  For all of the momentum in the economy, for all of what the good things that are happening in this economy, what I heard today is the time has come for the USMCA to be passed.  And so that’s why we came here.

Congressman Ron Kind has supported trade throughout his career.  I served with him when I was in the Congress of the United States, so I wanted to be here in Wisconsin and encourage him to come out for USMCA, but also encourage Speaker Pelosi to bring the USMCA to the floor.  This is going to be a win for Wisconsin, agriculture, and manufacturing.  The USMCA will be a win for America, and it’s time for the Democrats in the Congress to move the bill to the floor.

Because if Speaker Pelosi puts the USMCA on the floor of the Congress, it’ll pass.  And we’ll get it through the Senate and we’ll level the playing field here in North America in ways that will be a real win for workers, for agriculture, and for American businesses.

Q    Do you anticipate many more trips to Wisconsin in the next 18 months, given how big of a key state it is shaping up to be for the 2020 election?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, we love Wisconsin and we were proud to carry the state of Wisconsin in 2016.  And we continue to sense a great wellspring of support for the policies the President has advanced.

Look, we ran on a promise to rebuild our military.  Today, I was proud to report, here at Fort McCoy, that we made the largest investment in our national defense in more than a generation.  We promised to get this economy moving again by cutting taxes, rolling back regulation, having free and fair trade and lowering the costs of American energy and making energy more available around the world.  We’ve done that.  And this economy is expanding as a result.

And we promised to appoint strong conservatives to our courts at every level.  And now, as of this week, I think roughly 103 new federal court judges confirmed.

All of that, with America standing tall in the world.  Confidence is back in this country.  We’re really looking forward to coming to Wisconsin, telling the story of the great progress that we’ve made with the support of people here in Wisconsin.

Q    Last question.  Sir, you mentioned talking to the military families about how your budget is supposed to support them.  How do you support them after the military?  How do you bolster up the VA and some of the mismanagement that has happened there?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Such a great point.  And during the course of the campaign, President Trump made a commitment to stand by our veterans and address what were the heartbreaking and tragic stories of mismanagement in the VA — and we’ve done just that.

We’ve worked, on a bipartisan basis in the Congress, to pass reforms that have created all-new accountability for the VA.  And literally — literally thousands of VA employees have now been able to be dismissed for not providing our veterans the treatment that they deserve, and we’ll continue to advance accountability.

We owe America’s best, America’s best.  And the President and I are absolutely determined to ensure that our veterans get the healthcare coverage and benefits and services that they earned in the uniform of the United States.

I know we’re also especially proud of Veterans Choice, which is being implemented across the country today and essentially says:  If a local VA facility can’t provide our veterans with the services and healthcare that they need, that they’ll be able to go outside and seek that from a private healthcare provider.

Veterans Choice is an idea whose time has come — that, along with all new accountability.  We’ve made great progress in the VA, but we’re never going to relent until we give the men and women who’ve served in the uniform of the United States access to the world-class, real-time healthcare that they’ve earned.  That’s a promise.

Thank you all.