United States Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the JLS Automation facility in York, Pennsylvania on June 6 about the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, the Trump administration’s successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
During the first half of his speech, Vice President Pence recognized the anniversary of the D-Day invasion of occupied Europe during World War II. He then turned to the men and women of the JLS Automation facility and the state of the manufacturing sector in the United States.
The following is a transcript of the second half of his speech, when Vice President Pence turns his attention to the status of the USMCA and the immigration crisis:
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.