Motor City Solutions
2:56 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Michigan! (Applause.) It is great to be with you all here at Motor City Solutions. Because of all of you and the people that you represent all across this great state, Michigan is back, America is back, and Motor City is the car capital of the world. Congratulations. (Applause.) It’s true. It’s really true.
It really is an honor for me to be with all the leaders of the automotive industry here in Michigan. In fact, I just visited the Ford truck plant in Dearborn, and I got to tell you: America’s autoworkers are the best people in the world. (Applause.) I was so impressed.
And I’m also honored to be joined not only by industry leaders and by all of you who represent suppliers and manufacturers across the automotive industry, but I’m honored to be joined by some great champions in the Congress of the United States — legislative leaders who have been partners with President Trump and I as we’ve championed this growing economy. Join me in thanking Congressman John Moolenaar and Congressman Paul Mitchell. Where are you guys? (Applause.) Right in front of me. Thank you. Stand up. Thank you.
I’m also honored to be joined today by the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. I’m especially proud — got her start in transportation when she was working for the state of Indiana. Join me in welcoming Brandye Hendrickson, from Washington, D.C. She’s doing a great job. (Applause.) Thanks, Brandye.
And most of all, to Bill Long, to Sandy Baruah, and to all the workers and job creators who make this country run: It’s an honor to join you here in the great state of Michigan, in the heart of the heartland, to have the opportunity to address the men and women of America’s auto suppliers at such an important time in the life of this industry and the life of this nation.
And I got to tell you: I’m excited to be here in Michigan, but when I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone this morning, and I told him I was headed here to Michigan, I thought he sounded just a little bit jealous. He’s on the road himself today, but allow me to bring greetings from a friend of mine and a man who loves American cars, who loves the state of Michigan, and who is grateful every day for the state that turned the blue wall red in 2016. I bring greetings from President Donald Trump to each and every one of you. (Applause.)
Now, two years ago, President Trump spoke for our entire administration and for millions of Americans when he went to the Motor City and he told the world, in his words, “There is no more beautiful sight than an American-made car.”
Since the earliest days of our administration, President Trump has promised to “fight for your jobs” and to “fight for Michigan workers,” and to fight to keep making cars right here in America. And two years later, I’m proud to report, President Donald Trump delivered for the people of Michigan and the people of America. (Applause.) It’s true.
In just over two years’ time, we signed laws cutting federal red tape at a historic rate. We unleashed American energy as never before. We’ve been fighting for more fair and reciprocal trade deals around the world. And this President signed the largest tax cut and tax reform in American history.
And the results have been remarkable. In just a little more than two years, businesses large and small across America have created 5.5 million new jobs, including nearly 100,000 jobs right here in the state of Michigan. (Applause.)
It’s amazing to think, after the last administration saw America lose 210,000 manufacturing jobs, the last President actually memorably said, back in 2016, that we weren’t going to be able to bring manufacturing jobs back. Remember that? Remember that famous question: “What magic wand do you have?”
Well, we didn’t need a “magic wand.” We just needed President Donald Trump in the White House. (Applause.) It’s true. It’s true.
And since President Trump’s election, we’ve actually seen 480,000 manufacturing jobs created all across America, including more than 26,000 here in the state of Michigan. Manufacturing is roaring back. (Applause.)
And thanks to the investment and the ingenuity represented so well here at this forum, America has actually seen businesses in the auto industry create 110,000 new jobs over the last two years alone. In fact, I’m told 2018 was not only the best year for manufacturing job creation in more than 20 years, it’s actually the highest level of optimism among manufacturers ever recorded.
You know, I come from the Hoosier State, before I got my present work. And I always said, “In this part of the country we do two things well: We make things and we grow things.” And thanks to the leadership of this President and the support that we’ve had in the Congress of the United States, American manufacturing is back and the auto industry is leading the way. (Applause.)
And just to be clear, it’s not just manufacturing. The headline this morning attested to the fact: Yesterday, the stock market hit an all-time record, boosting retirement 401(k)s for tens of millions of Americans.
And under this administration, I’m proud to report, the unemployment rate has hit a 50-year low, with the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The American Dream is coming back for every American. (Applause.)
And the truth is, wages are also rising all across the board. Wages are rising at the fastest pace they have in a decade, and they’re rising most rapidly for working Americans, like the people I just spent time with down in Dearborn.
As the President said this morning, in his words, the stock market and the economy are doing the best they’ve ever done. A hundred and sixty million Americans are going to work every day. In fact, there are more Americans working today than ever before in our nation’s history. Our economy is roaring. Our nation is prospering. The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. It’s happening. (Applause.) It’s happening.
But for everything we’ve accomplished in the last two years, it really is a testament to all of you. The policies that this President has advanced, with the strong support of our partners in the Congress of the United States, have created the conditions that you — and the companies and the workers that you represent — have been able to take advantage of and build and prosper and create jobs. The job creators, the small-business owners represented here. The hardworking Americans on the assembly line.
So, first and foremost, let me begin today by saying what I said at that plant just a couple of hours ago. And that is just “thank you.” Thank you for stepping forward. Thank you for leading. Thank you for bringing opportunity back for Americans. It’s truly inspiring to see.
But I’m also here today to ask for your help. In his Detroit speech just two years ago, our President pledged to pursue, in his words, “a new future of American automotive leadership.” And that’s just what we’ve been doing.
He promised that this, again, would be expanding and growing as “the car capital of the world.” And with all of your support, it’s happening.
But to keep the momentum that we see happening in this industry and in the American economy rolling, the President and I know that we’ve got to level the playing field for American autoworkers by forging trade deals that put America first. And that’s just exactly what we’ve been doing.
You see, this is a President who understands that when a nation builds, it grows. That all honest work is honorable. And since the days of Henry Ford, the autoworker and auto industry have been the backbone of American manufacturing. And the automotive industry is the backbone of American manufacturing today. (Applause.)
Automakers, suppliers, workers, dealerships, local businesses that support them actually employ, I’m told, more than 7.2 million Americans who come to work every day with good-paying jobs. It’s actually more than any other manufacturing sector in the country.
You’re also our nation’s largest exporter, selling $692 billion in vehicles and parts all across the world every single year. That’s nearly $50 billion more than our next largest exporter in this economy.
And you’re making historic investments, I’m pleased to report, in America’s workers, keeping our competitive edge well into the 21st century. In the past five years alone, automakers have announced almost $60 billion in capital investments in this country, everything from engine and transmission plants, to research and development labs, to corporate headquarters.
You make the cars, the trucks, the auto parts that make America run. You’re investing in America, and America is growing as a result. And we thank you for that. (Applause.) You’re making our country stronger, more prosperous. And, being more prosperous, you’re making America more secure.
But for all we’ve accomplished in these last two years, this President looks — he never looks in the rearview mirror, I can promise you that. It’s always out the windshield. He just looks at all of it and says it’s a good start.
Frankly, after decades of seeing jobs and investment pouring overseas, President Trump made it a priority to make sure that companies continue to invest and have incentives to invest and create jobs right here in the United States of America. But we’ve got to work together to promote and protect what the President calls those four beautiful words: “Made in the USA.”
That’s why, since early in this administration, President Trump and our team have been working to forge trade deals that put American jobs and American workers first. From Europe to the Indo-Pacific, we’ve been fighting unfair trade practices. We’ve been negotiating deals that promote free, fair, and reciprocal trade.
But 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 the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. (Applause.) That’s why I’m here.
That’s why I’m here, and it’s why I’m going to be traveling all across the country talking about the USMCA and the difference that it’s going to make in our economy — and not only in the automotive industry, but in manufacturing and industries across the spectrum.
The USMCA will actually impact more than 2 million American manufacturing jobs that depend on exports to Canada and Mexico. It’s absolutely essential because the USMCA will finally give workers the level playing field and be able to compete and win on a global stage as never before.
I mean, think about it: Under NAFTA, which was written more than a quarter of a century ago, before Bluetooth, before Sirius radio, before advanced batteries, computerized navigation systems, or any of the major innovations that we take for granted today, NAFTA would — actually, it doesn’t require that any of these auto parts to be made in North America, let alone in the United States. It simply doesn’t mention them.
And as some of you who understand the NAFTA agreement know, that means that, if they’re not mentioned in the agreement, they’re deemed as having been manufactured here. That means today, through American — though American cars face all kinds of tariffs and trade barriers all around the world, companies can buy auto parts from China, assemble them in a car in Mexico, and sell them in the United States, duty free.
The truth is, that puts American companies and their suppliers at a disadvantage. And it’s one more reason why, unfortunately, 8 of the last 11 auto plants in North America were built in Mexico instead of the United States of America.
But, men and women, I’m here to say: Those days are over. The USMCA will level the playing field and treat the automotive industry right and fair, and it’s going to be a win for American workers and American jobs. (Applause.) It’s true.
We’re not going to allow an outdated trade deal to undercut American workers and undermine good-paying jobs — the kind of jobs that built our middle class in the past and are building it today. Under the USMCA, the American worker is going to be able to compete on a level playing field and win as never before.
You know, just last week, the United States Trade Representative released a study that says if the USMCA goes into effect, we can actually expect automakers to invest an additional $34 billion in our country. They’ll actually see auto suppliers sell an additional $23 billion in auto parts, and we’re estimating that it will create 76,000 new jobs in the auto sector alone.
The International Trade Commission — the U.S. International Trade Commission actually weighed in with a report of its own this week. Maybe some of you have seen it. It actually said the USMCA will add more than $68 billion and 176,000 jobs to our economy. And our manufacturing sector will see the biggest gains of all.
But you don’t have to take their word for it. Already, the Big Three emanating out of here in Michigan are making historic investments. In fact, earlier this year, here in Michigan, Fiat Chrysler announced it’s going to invest $4.5 billion in this great state in a new assembly plant and create 6,500 new jobs. Ford announced it’s going to invest $900 million in its manufacturing footprint in Michigan. And just last month, GM announced another $300 million in the Great Lakes State and 400 new jobs. That’s investment in Michigan. That’s investment in America. And that’s going to drive a growing America when we pass the USMCA. (Applause.)
But we got to get it done. We got to get it done. And that’s really why I’m here to ask for your help. The American Automotive Policy Council said the USMCA is going to create significant growth in the U.S. auto industry. And I can tell from the leaders that are all gathered here that you already know that.
But the clock is ticking. It’s time. And we need Congress to act to approve the USMCA and to approve the USMCA this year.
But Motor City and the great state of Michigan need to be heard. That’s why I started here. I’m literally going to be traveling all over the country, talking about the benefits to American jobs and American workers that will come when the USMCA is signed into law.
The truth of the matter is, we need to hear from Michigan. We need to hear from Motor City. We need to hear from the backbone of American manufacturing when we make this story.
So I want to encourage each and every one of you — all the leaders gathered here and all of you that are looking on: Go out and tell the story. Tell people how this agreement is going to level the playing field for American workers. Tell them how this agreement is going to lead to more jobs and more investment right here in the USA. Tell them why we need the USMCA so “Made in the USA” is rallying and leading the world once again. (Applause.)
But the truth is, we’ve done our jobs. Under the President’s leadership, we negotiated a treal that — a deal that, I promise you, puts American jobs and American workers first. But now it’s time for Congress to do their job and pass the USMCA.
So I want to thank you all for coming out today. I want to thank you for hearing me out in this cause. And I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can before I slip away back to Washington, D.C. But in the days and the weeks that lie ahead, I want to promise you: We’re going to continue to work every day to ensure that our nation’s auto industry and manufacturing across this country continues to grow and thrive.
But the truth is, when this industry is growing and prospering here across the Heartland of America, America is prospering and America succeeds.
And I promise you, President Trump and I are going to keep fighting — keep fighting for all the things that you’ve supported over the last two years that have revived this American economy, revived manufacturing, and revived this auto industry.
But it’s going to take all of us in the days ahead. So as I close here, I just — I do want to encourage each one of you to do your part. Keep promoting the kind of policies out of Washington, D.C. that have got this economy rolling again. And get out and tell the story of what we’ve been able to do — not only on USMCA and the need for Congress to act, but I hope, in the days ahead, that you’ll get out, you’ll talk to people about the progress we’ve made as a country.
I mean, talk to your coworkers, talk to your employees, talk to your suppliers and your vendors about the larger issues today. Talk to them about how we’ve been able to roll back red tape, cut taxes in ways, and negotiated new, free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals that are creating jobs and opportunities for Americans.
Tell them how we’ve rolled back the heavy hand of government, and American companies just like yours are now able to invest and innovate and create jobs and opportunities here in Michigan and all across this country.
I mean, tell them how you’re investing in the American people. And tell them how we’re committed to workforce development, innovative education, and job training. Tell them how we’re putting Washington, D.C. back to work for them, and not the other way around. Because it’s absolutely true.
You’re the leaders of an industry that is so vital and so closely identified with the American Dream, now well more than a century — dreams that have been happening in the greater Motor City area and in Michigan. And I just had to come here today and encourage you to, once again, let your voice be heard.
We need Michigan to lead. We need the auto industry to lead. We need you to let Congress know that it’s time to step forward. It’s time to step forward and deliver for the American people. Because the truth of the matter is, as I said before — I’ll close with this: As the American automotive industry prospers, America prospers. And with the USMCA ratified and agreed to between the United States and Canada and Mexico, I promise you: The best is yet to come for the automotive industry in Michigan and in America.
We’re going to make this country more prosperous than ever before. Together, we’re going to make it safer than ever before. And with President Trump in the White House, with this agreement approved, with the support and the leaders here in Michigan and in the Congress of the United States, and with God’s help, I know, in my heart of hearts, we will make America great again.
Thank you all very much. God bless you. Now let’s get out there and get the USMCA done. (Applause.)
3:14 P.M. EDT