Pence Pitches New NAFTA At Heritage Foundation Speech: "Vital For Congress To Pass USMCA"

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Vice President Pence said Tuesday during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington that the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) is a "vital" part of President Trump's economic plan.

"This president put China on notice that the decades of massive trade deficits, intellectual property theft, and forced technology transfer, decades of China ignoring the rules of international commerce are over," Pence said. "But I came here today to talk about why it's absolutely vital for Congress to pass the USMCA."





"According to the international trade commission, the USMCA will add nearly in investments $70 billion in this country and create nearly 180,000 American jobs just in the early going. In total American exports to Canada, we believe that we'll see increases by $19 billion and exports to Canada will increase by $14 billion," he continued. "And while NAFTA passed before even dial-up Internet, the brand-new digital trade chapter of the USMCA contains the strongest language on digital trade of any international agreement in history."

"The USMCA will be a big win for American energy as well," he continued. "Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations for American oil, already receiving nearly 30 percent of our exports, and that number will only increase under the USMCA. It will keep Mexico's energy resources open to development by American companies, and it will guarantee no tariffs on American oil."

"The USMCA also levels the playing field for American workers and American jobs. Under the USMCA, 75 percent of auto parts in duty-free cars must be made right here in North America, and a significant portion of these parts must be made by workers making a base wage of at least $16 per hour. We believe that this will eliminate the historic incentive to move manufacturing jobs out of the United States of America," Pence explained.

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Thank you all. Thank you for that warm welcome. Back to Heritage Foundation which throughout the course of my public life, back in my days in Indiana when I formed a small think tank to focus on state issues. Kay, I have to be honest with you Heritage Foundation will always feel like home, and I thank you for that wonderful warm welcome.

(APPLAUSE)

To the members of Congress who join us here today, great leaders on Capitol Hill, distinguished guests, ambassadors, and to all of you who every day are working in these hallways and often times on the airwaves of America building a nation of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in a civil society flourish. It is an honor to be here today with each and every one of you. And while I'm grateful for the kind introduction would you all just join me in thanking someone whose life and career are synonymous with the conservative movement, she has been a champion of the American dream and now she leads the Heritage Foundation with great distinction. Kay Coles James, thank you. Would you stand up and take a bow?

(APPLAUSE)

It really is great to be back. You know three years ago I spoke to Heritage Foundation as vice president-elect, and I remember at the time Kay that you warned me that the White House has a tendency to turn people prematurely gray.

(LAUGHTER)

But honestly, I haven't changed a bit.

(LAUGHTER)

You know the Heritage Foundation is a flagship of freedom. Since its founding in 1973, Heritage has been advancing conservative public policy based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, traditional values and from its very founding focused on a strong national defense. Now for nearly half a century it is undeniable the Heritage Foundation has made a difference for America.

(APPLAUSE)

And allow me to bring greetings from a great fan of Heritage Foundation and a great champion of all of the ideals that are synonymous with this great institution. I bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States of America President Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

You know as I told Heritage Foundation three years ago when I gathered with each and every one of you and when the president-elect was preparing to enter office we believed then that our president had won a mandate for leadership and he would make good use of it. Our transition office went right to work the morning after the election.

The truth is I will never forget the night--election night, was called in, the president had gotten the phone call, we gave the speeches at the podium. It was about 4:30 in the morning and as we were leaving the hotel I will never forget the president-elect looked at me and he said tell you what it's been a long night let's not get started until 8:30 tomorrow morning.

(LAUGHTER)

And when I got to the office, he was already at his desk. But we went right to work taking the policies that the president-elect had campaigned on the policies that the Heritage Foundation had advanced for decades and work to build a team to put them into practice. And let me acknowledge one of our helpful volunteers on the transition team played a vital role in assembling a team that has been making America great again ever since would you join me in thanking my friend Dr. Ed Feulner who is with us today and has played such a vital role--

(APPLAUSE)

--yesterday, today and tomorrow for freedom. Thank you, Ed. (INAUDIBLE)

(APPLAUSE)

We are gathered here today to talk about trade and economic growth. The Heritage Foundation has long understood that to provide for the common defense is the first object of the federal government and I'm proud to report to all of you gathered here that from the first days of this administration under President Trump's leadership we have been working to make the strongest military in the history of the world stronger still.

Just last month, President Trump completed a budget deal that secured $738 billion for our military, and that will represent the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. We have rebuilt our military. We have restored the arsenal democracy, and with the strong and unwavering support of these very same members of Congress and all those they represent we are finally again giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources they need to accomplish their mission and keep our nation safe.

(APPLAUSE)

So thank you all.

(APPLAUSE)

With that renewed American strength, our Armed Forces have taken the fight to our enemies on our terms on their soil. We secured freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. We brought North Korea into the negotiating table, and our Armed Forces capture the last inch of territory controlled by the ISIS caliphate earlier this year.

(APPLAUSE)

The truth is as President Trump has observed our active-duty personnel are now the best equipped, best trained and most technologically advanced fighting force in the history of the world. And in the wake of this weekend's unprovoked attack on several oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, I promise you we are ready. As the president said we don't want war with anybody, but the United States is prepared. We are locked and loaded, and we are ready to defend our interests and our allies in the region make no mistake about it.

As the president said yesterday, it is certainly looking like Iran was behind these attacks. Our intelligence community at this very hour is working diligently to review the evidence; the secretary of State is traveling to Saudi Arabia today to discuss our response. If the attacks were initiated from Iran the truth is they would just be the latest in a series of increasingly dangerous escalations instigated by the Islamic Republic.

In the past few months on the Iranian regime has deployed their regional proxies to stage sabotaged attacks against shipping in the Persian Gulf, they have supplied and trained their Houthi allies in Yemen to launch nearly 100 drone strikes against Saudi targets and in July they openly exceeded the limits to their stockpile of low enriched uranium that they agreed to in 2015. Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and it is the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East. That is why President Trump withdrew from the disastrous Iran Nuclear Deal and initiated a maximum pressure campaign against the regime in Tehran.

The truth is our maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime is working but know this if Iran conducted this latest attack to pressure President Trump to back off they will fail. America is ready to defend our interests and because of the president's strong action to advance of American energy independence we are also less vulnerable today to threats to the global oil supply than ever before. This year the United States will actually become a net exporter of oil for the first time in 75 years.

(APPLAUSE)

And the president has authorized the release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve as needed to keep energy markets well supplied. He has also directed appropriate agencies to expedite approval of oil pipelines. These attacks against our allies and the global energy supply will fail.

As I close on this point let me say we are evaluating all of the evidence. We are consulting with our allies, and the president will determine the best course of action in the days ahead, but I promise you under President Donald Trump, America will maintain our energy dominance, we will maintain our momentum toward energy independence, and the United States of America will take whatever action is necessary to defend our country, our troops and our allies in the Gulf. You can count on it.

(APPLAUSE)

So we've been standing strong for our military and the national defense, but on this Constitution Day I'm proud to report that we have also been standing strong for the Constitution itself to the principles of limited government for the values enshrined in our founding documents. You know the Heritage Foundation has always been a bulwark of traditional values, and as I stand before you today I couldn't be more proud to serve as vice president to a president who stands without apology for the unalienable right to life.

(APPLAUSE)

In one of the president's first acts in office he every answer to the Mexico City Policy to make sure that American tax dollars would not be used to promote or provide abortion really world, and we have expanded it in recent days, and I don't know if I have had a higher honor as president of the Senate the day I cast the deciding vote to allow states across America to defund Planned Parenthood.

(APPLAUSE)

But as we have stood for the inalienable right to life the president also stood strong for the constitutional foundation of our courts and I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to pay one more debt of gratitude and balance admiration to a man who has been a champion of our Constitution, a champion of the values and ideals that it made this nation great throughout his long and storied career. Would you will join me in thanking Attorney General Ed Meese for all he has done for America?

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, general.

(APPLAUSE)

General Meese was glad to know, and it's been a great counselor on this point, but as a candidate our president promised to appoint strict constructionists to our federal courts at every level in the tradition of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia and that is just what he has done.

I'm proud to report in the last two and a half years President Trump has appointed 150 federal judges to our courts and they are all conservatives who are committed to upholding the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution including the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

(APPLAUSE)

We are making historic progress strengthening the constitutional foundation of our courts through the appointments this president has made and will continue to make. The Democrats and their allies in the media are obviously getting desperate.

After dominating our courts for more than a generation leading Democrats today are now openly calling for packing the court and this week they have even taking to smearing a sitting justice on the Supreme Court of the United States with discredited allegations. The calls by Democrat candidates for president to remove Justice Kavanaugh from the court are a disgrace and nothing short of an attack on our independent judiciary.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a good antisense man. He is a principal jurist and a credit to the highest court in the land, and these attacks on Justice Kavanaugh must stop.

(APPLAUSE)

So we have been standing strong for our national defense, for the rule of law, for our values but under this president we've also been taking action to get this economy moving again which brings us here today, one more opportunity to add even more momentum to an American economy that is booming. The truth is from day one we have been putting into practice the very principles that Heritage Foundation has stood for since its founding in 1973 lower taxes, less regulation, more American energy, greater individual liberty.

From the early days of his administration President Trump has rolled back red tape at a historic level. In fact this president has signed more laws cutting federal red tape already than any president in American history saving more than $33 billion in regulatory costs. We also unleashed American energy. This president withdrew America from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord and today the United States as I have mentioned, is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world.

And of course it wasn't just rolling back regulations and unleashing American energy this president kept his promise in the early days of his administration when he signed into law the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history.

(APPLAUSE)

In fact businesses saw a corporate tax rate reduction from one of the highest in the industrialized world to 21 percent; it was the largest percentage point reduction in the top marginal corporate rate in the history of this country. We also cut taxes for working families, doubled the child tax credit, doubled the standard deduction in a typical family of four is saving about $2000 a year.

The result of all of that list regulation, less taxes, more American energy has truly been remarkable. As I stand here today at the Heritage Foundation I am proud to report since election day businesses large and small across this country have created more than 6 million new jobs and the unemployment rate has hit a 50- year low.

(APPLAUSE)

In two and a half short years more than 7 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps, and wages are rising at their fastest pace in more than 10 years. In fact the average worker has seen their wages go up by more than $1000 in the last year alone. The economy is soaring and you really you don't need to hear it by studying statistics. These congressman will attest we hear it on the street every single day.

I had that happen myself when and Karen and I slipped away down to the Fort Myers area for a couple of days on the beach earlier this year. We were sitting there in our ballcaps and our sunglasses taking in a few enjoyable hours of rest there on the beach and these two fellows came walking by wearing big Budweiser teachers and one of them stopped and turned to me and he said, "Hey, you're Vice President Mike Pence."

(LAUGHTER)

I said, "Yes, I am."

(LAUGHTER)

And he looked at me and he said, "Well, listen. You've got to tell the president that he's got to keep doing what he's doing because I made twice as much money last year as I did the year before." And I told him I'd tell the president word for word, and I did.

(APPLAUSE)

It's true. And then he took three steps away and he turned back and looked at the and he said, "Now, I don't know what you do, but keep doing what you're doing too."

(LAUGHTER)

I told him I would.

(LAUGHTER)

And the truth is we are here today. We are here today because of the tremendous progress that we've made. But I'm also here today to talk about a great opportunity, an opportunity before us to build on the momentum that we've seen in this economy. I'm here today to call on the Congress of the United States to pass the largest trade deal in American history. It's time for Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, this president was no fan of NAFTA. He often reflected on the campaign trail what I saw back in the state of Indiana about the impact, unintentional or otherwise, that NAFTA had on many communities, many factories across the country that had closed in the last quarter century. But he promised that we could do better. He promised that we'd sit down with Mexico and Canada and negotiate a new deal and put--that put jobs and prosperity first. And he did just that. Now, I've got to tell you, I was in on a lot of those discussions with President Overdorf's predecessor and with Prime Minister Trudeau in Canada. I saw this president drive a hard bargain, but I also saw our neighbors to the north and the south negotiate in good faith.

So let me take this opportunity to not only think Mexico and Canada, but let me also give you a chance to join me in thanking their representatives who are with us today, the ambassador of Canada to the United States of America, Kirsten Hillman and Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Martha Barcena. Would you stand up and let us show you how much we appreciate your efforts?

(APPLAUSE)

The truth is, as you all know at the Heritage Foundation, since the early postwar era, America's prosperity has rested on the ingenuity, the determination, the Howard work hard work of the American people. But it's also--also rested on robust trade with freedom loving nations around the world.

It's a landmark free-trade agreement, after all, that helped revive the global economy after the Second World War. 1947, the United States and 22 other nations came together to forge an agreement that leveled the playing field for American business. It actually laid a foundation for decades of economic growth. It's called the general agreement on tariffs and trade.

And early on, it worked. It worked to breed prosperity in this country and really helped the world recover from the devastations of war. Tariffs in industrialized countries fill an average of 40 percent or around 5 percent today. But frankly, today, as we negotiated trade agreements among so many different countries with so many different interests, too many countries around the world in the decades that have followed have taken advantage of the United States in the process, often to the detriment of hard-working Americans. And President Trump as a candidate and as your president has called them out and demanded that we put American jobs and American workers first.

Truth is though, one administration after another stood by and watched unfair trade practices hollow out American manufacturing, in particular. This president promised to fight for American jobs and American workers. Three years ago, the businessman turned candidate said that no longer will we enter into these massive trade deals with many countries that are thousands of pages of long that no one from any country reads or understands, and he's demanded that we move forward. We withdrew from the transpacific partnership. We signed--signed up the toughest and smartest trade negotiators we've ever had to crack down on China's unfair trade practices and negotiate new trade deals with our partners around the world. We've ended the era of economic surrender and were using the power of the--of the strongest economy in the history of the world to put our jobs and our workers first.

Now, American jobs and American workers are winning again. You know, I remember when the last administration lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs and literally the last president said that those jobs were gone for good. Remember? He said what are you going to--you got a magic wand to bring them back? Well, we didn't need a magic wand. We just need President Donald Trump in the White House. We've seen 500,000 manufacturing jobs created since election day alone.

(APPLAUSE)

The truth is, we've been working hard to open up markets around the world to goods and services. Argentina to American pork, Vietnam to American grain, the European Union to American beef. Time after time, as our friends from Canada and Mexico can attest, the president has been calling for free and fair and reciprocal trade, driving a hard bargain to open up markets to countries that have access to the American consumer. And since we took office, the president pursued an ambitious trade agenda that's been built on those principles of free and fair and reciprocal trade.

We dramatically improved our trade agreement with South Korea. Three years ago, we reached an agreement in principle on the first stage, just a few months ago, the first stage of a free-trade agreement with Japan. Two weeks ago, I told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the United States is ready to immediately begin negotiations on a free-trade agreement with United Kingdom as soon as Brexit is complete, and we are ready.

(APPLAUSE)

Beyond all that, this president put China on notice that the decades of massive trade deficits, intellectual property theft, and forced technology transfer, decades of China ignoring the rules of international commerce are over. But I came here today to talk about why it's absolutely vital for Congress to pass the USMCA. According to the international trade commission, the USMCA will add nearly in investments $70 billion in this country and create nearly 180,000 American jobs just in the early going. In total American exports to Canada, we believe that we'll see increases by $19 billion and exports to Canada will increase by $14 billion.

And while NAFTA passed before even dial up Internet, the brand-new digital trade chapter of the USMCA contains the strongest language on digital trade of any international agreement in history. And the USMCA will be a big win for American energy as well. Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations for American oil, already receiving nearly 30 percent of our exports, and that number will only increase under the USMCA. It will keep Mexico's energy resources open to development by American companies, and it will guarantee no tariffs on American oil.

The USMCA also levels the playing field for American workers and American jobs. Under the USMCA, 75 percent of auto parts in duty-free cars must be made right here in North America, and a significant portion of these parts must be made by workers making a base wage of at least $16 per hour. We believe that this will eliminate the historic incentive to move manufacturing jobs out of the United States of America. President Donald Trump is putting American jobs and American workers first.

(APPLAUSE)

And I know we are all watching as the--the news between the UAW and General Motors, the strike that began yesterday, but I have a respectful message for all the United Auto Workers who are currently on strike. As the president said, we hope and trust you will work out your differences with GM. But while you're at it, if you really want to support our nations auto workers, the UAW and GM ought to tell Congress to pass the USMCA and make sure there's more autoworkers jobs for decades to come.

(APPLAUSE)

So the record is clear. USMCA is a win. It's a win for American energy, it's a win for American agriculture, it's a win for American manufacturing. As I stand before you today, I'm proud to report the president has done his job. Canada and Mexico are doing their job. Now we need Congress to do its job and pass the USMCA. And it's more than just a good deal between our three countries. Experts often reflect that the USMCA is so advanced, it's so comprehensive that it may well serve as a template, a model trade agreement for future trade agreements in the decades ahead, whether with United Kingdom, Japan, the European Union, or even China.

And by passing the USMCA, we'll also strengthen the president's hand in the negotiations with that last country. By bringing North American together, by demonstrating our ability to unify our economy with our neighbors to the north and the south will only strengthen the president's hand as we demand that China and the trade abuses that that have characterized the decades of the past. The USMCA will further strengthen our economy and create jobs at a time when other economies around the world are slowing. And it's an idea whose time has come.

So I promise you, we're going to keep fighting, were going to keep fighting for American jobs, for American opportunities, and were going to keep fighting to get the USMCA across the line. And--but I--I came here today to the Heritage Foundation because all of you know that the greatest force this country has ever known, it has the greatest impact on the future of this nation is always the voice of the American people. And so I want to encourage all of the leaders in this room to let your voice be heard. Leave here today and do like I'm going to do. Headed straight to Capitol Hill and tell the Congress to pass the USMCA for America.

(APPLAUSE)

If all of us do all we can to let our voice be heard, I promise you we'll get the USMCA done and I believe we can get it done this year. So it's great to be with all of you today at the Heritage Foundation. I thank you for coming out. I look around this room and feel like I'm watching cable television.

(LAUGHTER)

There's so many well-known faces and voices here. I'm actually very honored that you would take time to hear us out, and to come here to the part of the Heritage Foundation's long tradition of being a platform talking about how we advance the agenda and the principles that have made this country great in the past and are making America great again as we speak. And the truth is, Heritage Foundation has been a bulwark. It's been a bulwark of freedom and a leading defender of the Constitution now for almost half a century.

And as I end here today, I can't help but think about the fact that it's Constitution Day, that more than two centuries ago on this day, the Constitution was signed. And later on today, I'll have the great privilege of participating in a naturalization ceremony with a room full of new Americans who will come to the White House to swear--swear their allegiance to this country, and swear their oath to that Constitution of the United States. But I think of the preamble of that consternation Constitution on a day like today and of all the years that have passed since. The words the Constitution began with, "We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America."

When they walked out of that hall in Philadelphia, history records that a little old lady walked up to Benjamin Franklin, asked him what kind of government they created and he said, "It's a republic, if you can keep it." And as I stand before you today, I have a grateful heart not just as your vice president, but as an American that we've kept it. We've kept it. We looked at that charge and that preamble and all the things that I address today give evidence to the fact the American people, whatever our differences are, we have--we have kept faith with the ideals enshrined in the Constitution.

And I believe it's a day for--cause for celebration and one that we ought to reflect on and be thankful for, but redouble our commitment today to stand by that Constitution, to stand by those ideals. Because it's always been the wellspring of our nation's greatness. And as we keep faith with that Constitution with the American people, I know, as people at Heritage foundation have known for nearly 50 years that the best days for the greatest nation on earth are yet to come. So thank you. God bless you. God bless the Heritage Foundation, and God bless America.

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