4:13 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Pennsylvania! It is great to be back in the Keystone State. Great to be here with some outstanding leaders in public and private life who have been partnering with this administration and serving in this administration, and supporting this administration every step of the way.
Join me in thanking Secretary Acosta for those great words and his great leadership on behalf of working men and women in this country. (Applause.) Jay Timmons, who leads the Manufacturers Association of America — helped bring this together today, as well as the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association. Thanks so much for the warm hospitality. We appreciate you very much. (Applause.)
David Taylor. And three great congressmen who have been there every step of the way, moving an agenda that’s got Pennsylvania growing again, got America growing again: Congressman Smucker, Congressman Meuser, and your very own Congressman Scott Perry. Thanks for being here, men. (Applause.) These are strong, conservative voices for Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
And let me bring greetings from another friend of mine. I talked to him on the phone on the way here. And when I told him I was in the Keystone State, I think he sounded just a little bit jealous. (Laughter.) So let me bring greetings from a man who loves the state of Pennsylvania and who’s been fighting every day to get Pennsylvania growing again. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America — President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Before I begin, let me do as others have done at this podium and recognize that this is truly a momentous day. June the 6th, 75 years ago, hundreds of thousands of American forces crossed the English Channel and stormed the beaches of Normandy, and won a victory over tyranny and a victory for freedom — not just for that continent, but for the world — and we owe them a debt we can never fully repay. (Applause.)
The President spoke today on the shores of Normandy, surrounded by veterans. And he spoke of their stories in remarks that resonated not just across this country, but around the world. And it was my great privilege, earlier today as well, to go to Bedford, Virginia. Now, Bedford, Virginia is a small town in the state of Virginia — population of about 5,000. But it’s also home to the National D-Day Memorial because that was a town that, on this day, 75 years ago, lost more of their sons in combat per capita than any other community in America.
Today, we remembered those that history records as the “Bedford Boys,” and we honored them and the thousands of Americans who lie in repose to this day in France.
But we also honored all of those who served and came home — to build families, to build great businesses, to build great communities. And let me — let me honor one of them who is actually with us today. He was a member of the 84th Infantry Division. He landed on Omaha Beach in September of 1944. And just a few months later, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He just happens to be the father-in-law of the president of this company, but please join me — and get on your feet, if you can — in recognizing Henry Kirkpatrick for being a part of the Greatest Generation, and for all he and his generation have done for freedom. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you, Henry. Thank you for your service. And as I said today, in that little town of Bedford, to all of those who serve here and in glory: Thank you for our freedom.
But speaking of this family, I know you already heard that Craig and I share something in common: I’m going to turn 60 years old tomorrow, surrounded by my wife and kids. He is one year ahead of me. So let me just say: Craig, happy birthday. (Applause.) Great timing to be with you today.
You know, it’s such an honor for me to serve as your Vice President alongside a President who gets up every day to keep the promises that he made to the people of Pennsylvania. I mean, from our very first day in office, President Trump promised that we were going to start getting this economy growing — that we were going to hire and grow in America, that we were going to raise wages for American workers, we were going to rebuild our economies in our cities, in our towns. Because, as he loves to say, “when we grow American manufacturing, we [not]…only grow our jobs and wages,” we grow the American spirit. And President Donald Trump has been delivering every single day. (Applause.)
I mean, the truth is, with the strong support of conservatives in Congress, in just over two years, it’s remarkable to think that all we were able to do. We rolled back more federal regulations than any administration in American history. We unleashed American energy. And this President actually signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history.
And the results have just been remarkable. I mean, since Election Day, businesses just like this one, large and small, all across America, have created 5.8 million new jobs, including 150,000 jobs right here in the state of Pennsylvania. (Applause.) That’s results.
The unemployment rate, as the Secretary just said, has hit nearly a 50-year low, and the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanic Americans has hit the lowest levels ever recorded. The American Dream is coming back for every American. (Applause.) It’s true.
And for working Americans — the forgotten men and women of this country — I’ve also got good news. Wages are rising at the fastest pace in nearly ten years. And they’re rising most rapidly among blue-collar, hard-working Americans and families. The truth is, the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more.
It’s amazing to think, when you think about manufacturing and great companies like JLS, that the last administration actually saw this country lose 200,000 manufacturing jobs like you’ve got right here. In fact, the last President said we’d never get those jobs back. Do you remember? It was in the summer of 2016. President Obama said — when he was asked about manufacturing jobs — he said, quote, “What magic wand do you have?” Like you’d take a magic wand to bring manufacturing back in America.
Well, we didn’t need a “magic wand.” We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House. (Applause.) It’s true.
I mean, here are the numbers: Since Election Day in 2016, manufacturing companies across this country have created nearly 500,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, including 6,000 jobs right here in the Keystone State. Manufacturing is roaring back. (Applause.)
In fact, these guys at the National Association of Manufacturers found that 2018 was the best year for manufacturing job creation in more than 20 years. Our manufacturing is rolling all across this country. And, really, it’s thanks to the policies that your supported, the leadership of this President, and the leadership these members of Congress have been able to support.
But we also understand that the people that are making this economy go and grow are all of you. And it’s thanks to people like you and the companies like JLS Automation that this economy and American manufacturing is rallying all across this country.
It’s amazing to think that, since 1955, you’ve been a leader in customized packaging solutions. And I’ve heard about the job growth in this company, and I even heard there are some job openings at this company even as we speak.
In fact, the truth is, it’s your character, your work ethic, your integrity that drives this company and is driving manufacturing all across the country. There’s all kinds of stories of hardworking Americans who are making a difference in this room.
Like a service technician here at JLS that I heard about. I’m told they’re a model employee — professional, reliable. They’re a leader in the workplace who always goes the extra mile for coworkers. But he doesn’t just give of himself here at work. He also stepped forward to serve our country in the uniform of the United States, including last year when he deployed to the Middle East with his unit of Army National Guard. Would you all join me in showing your appreciation for Johan Valles? (Applause.) Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your service to America.
You want to say a word?
MR. VALLES: (Inaudible.) Thank you though.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thanks, Johan. Great job. Great job.
We’re also joined today by a member of the JLS family who’s a little new to the company, but isn’t new to this facility. She worked for the last company to operate here before JLS, where she developed a reputation for hard work, her friendly smile, and a great sense of humor. So when JLS moved in, I’m told they just had to bring her onboard. (Laughter.)
And in the year that she’s been here, she’s exceeded all expectations of the team. Today, she plays a vital role keeping this impressive shop organized and running smoothly. So would you all give a big round of applause to Lexie Heitzman for the job she’s doing here, keeping this company rolling. (Applause.)
You want to say a word?
MS. HEITZMAN: No, thank you.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) Perfect. Johan and Lexie are emblematic, really, of all of you in this room. And I just couldn’t resist telling their story because what the President and I understand is it’s the American people working in manufacturing that are really driving this American comeback in manufacturing.
You’re renewing — you’re renewing manufacturing all across this country as you live out the American Dream. So thanks for being who you are. Thanks for bringing your integrity and your work ethic, your expertise to design and to build in a place like this. Thanks for driving JLS and driving —
(Applause.) You know for everything that we’ve accomplished in the last two years (inaudible). Don’t worry about it; the good Lord gave me lungs. You’re going to be able to hear me (inaudible). (Laughter.)
I came by to say thanks. Thanks for leading. Thanks for being a company that’s really setting the pace here in Pennsylvania. But I’m also here to ask for your help. Because for all the progress we’ve made, I promise you: All the progress in this economy, all the jobs created, that’s is just what this businessman-turned-President calls a “good start.”
To keep the American economy rolling, President Trump and I know — in addition to rolling back red tape, cutting taxes, and expanding and unleashing American energy — that we’ve got to level the playing field for American workers by forging trade deals that put America first, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. (Applause.)
The truth is, from the outset of this administration, from Europe to the Indo-Pacific, this administration has been negotiating deals promoting free, fair, and — as the President likes to say — reciprocal trade. We want to trade with countries around the world — what we grow here, what we make here.
The truth of the matter is, that we — for too long, the United States has had a one-sided trading (inaudible). Countries were able to manufacture goods or grow products, ship them into the United States with very few limitations.
But we’ve faced tremendous barriers and tariffs as we faced — as we export into their countries. The truth is, we’ve made progress but we’ve got a lot more work to do. That’s why I came to Pennsylvania to send one message and one message only today: The time has come for the Congress of the United States to pass the largest trade deal in American history. The time has come for Congress to pass the USMCA. (Applause.)
That’s really what brought me here today. I’ve been traveling all over the country talking about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. You’ve already heard, from this podium, the difference that it’s going to make here, not only in manufacturing, but in industries all across this economy and in agriculture — great, great pillars the American economy.
The truth is, we all remember NAFTA. We’ve been living under it for a long time. It was adopted back in the 1990s. I probably don’t have to tell you out here in Pennsylvania what we learned the hard way in Indiana — the impact that NAFTA had on communities.
Over in the Hoosier State, we saw almost entire communities shuttered, as factories closed and moved south of the border. I’ll never forget, just a few days after Election Day 2016, we heard of a company that had been in Indiana for almost 100 years that announced that they were closing their doors for no particular reason — just moving south of the border to Mexico.
And men and women, I’ll make you a promise: When Congress passes the USMCA, those days are over. (Applause.) I’m glad you heard that real clear — (laughter) — because we mean it.
The truth is, the USMCA is going to impact, we believe, more than 2 million American manufacturing jobs — jobs that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico, including more than 42,000 jobs right here in the Keystone State.
I mean, this great state, already exports more than $14 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico. And under the USMCA, that’s only going to grow, which is going to create even more jobs, more opportunity, and more prosperity right here in Pennsylvania. (Applause.)
It’s absolutely essential we get the USMCA passed by the Congress, and passed by the Congress this summer. It’ll finally give American workers and farmers a level playing field that we need to be able to compete and win.
And I really do — I really do like it. I like what Craig Souser said just a few minutes ago. He said, “You give us a level playing field and we’ll do the rest.” JLS and American manufacturing know how to win. (Applause.)
I mean, we’re just not going to let — we’re not going to let outdated trade deals hurt American farmers or manufacturers anymore — not under this President, not under this administration. We’re not going to let them undermine good-paying jobs that really build our middle class and are rebuilding the middle class in communities like this all across the country.
And the truth is — as the President loves to say — if we get this thing done, if we keep on the heading that we’re on right now, American workers are going to win like never before. But we got to get it done. The clock is ticking; it’s time.
Now, I know there’s other issues that we have to deal with. I’m sure you’re all aware here in Pennsylvania that we have a crisis on our southern border and the time has come for Congress to act and stand with this President to end the crisis of illegal immigration. (Applause.) It’s true.
I mean, last month — you may have heard the news yesterday — more than 144,000 people crossed our southern border illegally. The President took action late last week to demand that Mexico step up as well — that Mexico up to stem the tide of illegal immigration.
I’m proud to report to you that our administration began talks yesterday with Mexico. And then they’re continuing through today. But we made it very clear to our neighbors to the south: Mexico must do more to end the tide of illegal immigration that is besetting our southern border. (Applause.)
As I said, the talks are ongoing. Progress is being made. But I promise you, President Trump and I are going to continue to stand strong until Mexico and the Congress take the action necessary to end this crisis and secure our border once and for all. Congress can take steps to close the loopholes that are driving this crisis of illegal immigration. And Congress should do just that. And Congress should also approve the USMCA. We can fix our border, we can end this crisis, and we can pass a trade deal that will keep America growing like never before. (Applause.) We can do it all.
And there’s no reason why Congress can’t do both. In fact, they’ve got to do both. Bottom line, the President and I have done our jobs; now it’s time for Congress to their job and pass the USMCA. But we’re going to take our lead from all of you. You know, they call it the “people’s house.” I served there for 12 years. The Congress of the United States of America listens to the American people, so you’re going to be the ones that make the difference. And the people working in American manufacturing need to be heard.
You know people not only all across this part of Pennsylvania, all over this state, but really all over the country. So I just encourage you: Tell the story of what the USMCA is going to mean for companies like this. Tell them how you heard from Craig and others.
And say, “I ran into Mike the other day. He was in Pennsylvania.” (Laughter.) “And he seemed awful excited about the USMCA and said it’s going to make it possible for our company to keep growing.” Let your voice be heard and we will get the USMCA done this year. (Applause.)
Now, I’ll tell you, you don’t need to call Congressman Scott Perry, you don’t need to call Congressman Lloyd Smucker, and you don’t need to call Congressman Dan Meuser. Because they’re standing strong for the USMCA.
But I know each and every one of them would be grateful if you let your voice be heard. You know, send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Call a local radio show. Just talk about what this means. Because I got to tell you, when the American people send a clear message to Capitol Hill, Congress can get it done.
So go out there and tell the story. Tell how this agreement is — will level the playing field. It will remove the incentives in NAFTA that for years created a magnet for jobs to go to the south of our border. Make no mistake about it. Your voice will make a difference if you make your voice heard.
So thanks for coming out today. And in the days and weeks that lie ahead, I want to promise you: President Trump and I are going to keep on fighting. We’re going to keep fighting for all the policies that Pennsylvania voted to advance and that we’ve been advancing over the last two years. The policies that are reviving this economy and really making it possible for great companies like JLS to prosper and grow and continue to hire and expand.
And I truly do believe, if you let your voice be heard, that with your continued support, with the USMCA passed into law, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God’s help, we’re going to make America more prosperous than ever before. And I promise you: We will make America great again.
Thanks, everybody. (Applause.) God bless you. God bless Pennsylvania. And God bless America. It’s great to be here.
4:36 P.M. EDT