1:55 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Iowa. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you for that warm welcome. To Governor Kim Reynolds, to Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg. I’m also told we’re joined by Iowa’s former First Lady. Chris Branstad is with us today. Chris, take a bow, will you? (Applause.) Great to have you home. State Senate Majority Whip Amy Sinclair. And, of course, to Roger Hargens and the amazing men and women of Accumold, it is great to be back in the Hawkeye State. Thank you all for having us today. (Applause.) Thank you. Governor, thank you.
And it’s great to be here with some friends in public and private life who have been partnering with this administration to promote American manufacturing, to promote agriculture at home and abroad.
And speaking of friends of mine, I was talking to a friend of mine this morning. I told him I was headed to Iowa and I thought he sounded just a little bit jealous. (Laughter.) So allow me to bring greetings and admiration from a man who loves the state of Iowa and who’s been fighting every day to keep Iowa growing. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Now, before I begin about the topic of the day, let me just take a moment to say a word about your governor. I want to thank Kim Reynolds for her outstanding leadership for this stat, but most especially for the way that she and your entire community of first responders stepped forward in the historic flooding this March.
Governor, the nation was impressed, and you should be proud of the way Iowa responded to these historic floods. And we are going to stay with you every step of the way until these communities come all the way back. (Applause.) Thank you, Governor. Great job.
You know, it is an honor for me to serve as your Vice President alongside a President who gets up every day and fights to keep the promises that he made to the people of Iowa.
From our very first day in office, this President promised that we were going to get this economy growing again, that we were going to raise wages for working Americans, that we were going to revive the American economy. And that’s just what we’ve done: 6 million new jobs created by businesses just like this one and unemployment is at a 50-year low. (Applause.)
But you know, I hail from the Hoosier State — an awful lot like Iowa. And in Iowa and Indiana, the truth is, we do two things particularly well: We make things and we grow things. And this President has a real heart for manufacturing. In fact, President Trump has been working hard to revive American manufacturing since the first day of this administration.
And with the strong support of our partners in the Congress, in two and a half years we’ve been doing just that. You know, this President has already signed more laws rolling back federal red tape on businesses just like this one than any administration in American history. We’ve unleashed American energy. And this President signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. We cut taxes for working families, for family farmers, and we cut taxes for businesses large and small so companies just like Accumold can compete and win against companies anywhere in the world. (Applause.)
And the results have been remarkable. Since Election Day 2016, as I mentioned, we’ve created millions of new jobs all across this country, including, I’m proud to report, 49,000 new jobs right here in the state of Iowa. Well done, Iowa business. (Applause.)
I mentioned the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. And, here in Iowa, it is an astonishing 2.4 percent. And most important of all, I know, to this President, to our administration, and to your governor, is that after years where wages seemed just stuck in up to the axle and not growing at the pace that America has needed to keep ahead and to get ahead, now wages are rising at the fastest pace in nearly 10 years. And most exciting of all, wages are rising the most rapidly among blue-collar, hardworking Americans.
The way we put it: The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.) This economy is working for everybody. It’s true.
And when it comes to manufacturing: Since Election Day 2016, manufacturing companies across this country have created more than 500,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs like you have right here at Accumold, including 15,000 manufacturing jobs right here in the Hawkeye State.
You know, 2018 was actually the best year for manufacturing job creation in more than 20 years. And, frankly, it’s a credit to people like all of you who make companies like this work each and every day.
Businesses are investing and growing here in Iowa and around America because of your work ethic, because of your professionalism. And you’re to be commended.
It is remarkable to think of the stories of American businesses just like this one. The story of Accumold is one worth telling. This is a company that started in a rented garage, I’m told. It was a rented garage. It wasn’t even your garage. (Laughter.) In those early days, that little room, the founders of this company came up with a new way of manufacturing small, complex component parts for high-tech industries — medical devices and electronics.
Thirty-five years later, Accumold, from those humble beginnings, now employs 350 people right here in Iowa. It’s another great American story of success and innovation. Congratulations. (Applause.)
But I know from talking to Roger, he understands that the success of Accumold is only made possible because of its people — each and every one of you — like a couple people that I want to mention today: a man who has served in the Army Reserves for 15 years, who has used his skills to serve his country in Afghanistan as an aircraft electrician. And now he’s using those very same skills here to build up this company and build up Iowa’s economy. Would you join me in showing our appreciation, for his service and his professionalism, to Jeff Hancock? Jeff, where are you? (Applause.) Thanks, Jeff. And thanks for your service.
Another man who was born in Mexico and moved to Iowa when he was 10 years old is with us today. He attended Des Moines Area Community College on a scholarship and then joined the team here at Accumold, I’m told, about four years ago. He just got married — (laughter) — and in just the last two months, he became a father. And together with his brother Francisco, he works here at Accumold. And he just became an American citizen. Would you join me in congratulating a new dad, a new American: Yanni and Francisco Sanchez. Where are you? (Applause.)
You know, these folks are just emblematic of, really, all of you in this room. I mean, truthfully, we’re renewing American manufacturing because of all of you — because of your worth ethic, your integrity, and your hard work. And because of who you are, companies like Accumold are thriving all over Iowa and all over America. So give yourselves a round of applause. This is your success story. Great job. (Applause.)
So I came here today to express the admiration of the President and our administration for this great company and for the success that you’ve enjoyed here because of all your hard work. But I also came here today to ask for your help. Because for all the progress that we’ve made — all the jobs that have been created in manufacturing and in every area across Iowa — the truth is that that’s just what this businessman-turned-President calls a “good start.”
To keep the American economy moving, President Trump and I know not only do we have to roll back red tape and cut taxes, unleash American energy, but we’ve got to have trade deals that put American jobs and American workers first. And that’s what the USMCA is all about. (Applause.) It’s true. It’s true.
From the very outset of this administration, with dealing with Europe or the Indo-Pacific, we’ve been working to negotiate deals that are promoting free, fair, and, as the President likes to say, reciprocal trade — where we say to our trading partners around the world that we’ll deal with you in the same way that you deal with us.
For too long, the United States had one-sided trade agreements. Countries were able to manufacture goods or grow products and ship them into the United States with very few limitations, when nevertheless we faced barriers and tariffs as we tried to export to their countries.
And we’ve made progress around the world in opening up markets to manufactured goods and our agricultural products that are made and grown here in Iowa. But I came here to Iowa to send one message — one message and one message only — today: Iowa and America need 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.)
It’d mean a lot. It would mean a lot to the Iowa economy and a lot of businesses just like this one.
I’ve been traveling all over the country talking about the USMCA over the last several months. You know, in — according to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA is actually going to add more than 175,000 jobs to our economy once it puts into effect. Sixty-eight billion dollars to our economy just in the initial estimates. And that includes nearly 50,000 manufacturing jobs that we expect to be created right out of the gate.
And that same estimate tells us that the USMCA will increase wages for American manufacturing workers. This job is a win for American workers, and Congress needs to pass it to the President’s desk. (Applause.)
Now, the governor and I were chatting on the plane on the way here, and she told us that Iowa exports about $12 billion in goods around the world, and half of that is exported to Mexico and Canada. And it’s really amazing.
And under the USMCA, I promise you, Iowa, that’s only going to grow. It’s going to create more jobs, more opportunity, and more prosperity right here in Iowa as we open up opportunities to expand new technologies, to expand agricultural products to Canada and Mexico.
It’s amazing to think that one out of every eight Iowa jobs depends on exports. And that’s not news to me because I — as I said, I come from the Hoosier State, where our economy is — it shares very much the same traditions as you have here in Iowa. What you make here, what you grow here, you send to the world.
But as I mentioned, nearly 50 percent of all Iowa exports go to Mexico and Canada, including 50 percent of all agricultural goods and 50 percent of all manufacturing goods.
If we pass the USMCA, Iowa’s workers and farmers are going to win like never before. But we got to get it done. The clock is ticking. For Iowa and America, Congress needs to approve the USMCA, and Congress needs to approve the USMCA this year. 2019 is when we have to get it done. (Applause.)
And I watched this President drive a hard bargain, and I was in on a lot of those calls and a lot of those meetings with Mexico and with Canada. I mean, those of you that know a little bit about dairy know that Canada had set into motion some policies that were working a real disadvantage to American dairy. And I wish you could have been there. I wish you could have been a fly on the wall to watch the way this President fought and demanded that we level the playing field for agriculture and particularly for dairy, when it came to Canada.
But the truth is, the President and our team have done our jobs. It’s time for Congress to do their job. And so I’m going to ask you to do us a favor here. I want you to talk, here in Iowa, about what the USMCA is going to mean to companies just like this.
I mean, talk to Roger. Talk to folks in this company about the incredible technology that you build here and already send around the world, and the impact that this trade agreement is going to have — and not just on our exports to Canada and to Mexico. But truthfully, when we pass the largest trade deal in American history, it’s also going to be the most modern trade deal in American history.
And as our negotiations continue to move forward with Japan for a free trade agreement; with the EU; with the UK, after Brexit is done; and most especially with China — make no mistake about it: The USMCA is going to provide a framework for the kind of trade deal that’s going to put American jobs and American workers first in the 21st century.
So I want you to go out and tell the story. I mean, you can just say, “Hey, I went to work the other day and I ran into Mike” — (laughter) — “and he said he flew all the way to Iowa because he’s just really excited about the USMCA. And he told us it’s going to make it possible for this company to keep growing, for this community to keep growing, and to keep doing all the kind of things that Accumold does every day way outside these walls.”
You know, this is a great company. It’s not only got a great success story, but Roger Hargens, the whole team here — Accumold is a great corporate citizen that supports causes all across this community and all across Iowa. And that only becomes more possible as the company continues to grow.
So talk to your neighbors and friends. Let your voice be heard. And I think we’ll get USMCA done, and we’ll get it done this year.
Now, I encourage you to reach out to elected officials in the House of Representatives who represent you here from Iowa, in particular. But let me say with some gratitude, you don’t need to call Senator Chuck Grassley or Senator Joni Ernst because they are already leading the charge for the USMCA in the United States Senate. (Applause.) They are great leaders and we’re grateful to both of them.
But call your congressman, and tell him, “Hey, I work at a great company — a company that makes the most incredible, high-tech medical devices the world has ever seen. And this is going to expand opportunities in our company to continue to grow, continue to create jobs, and continue to raise wages.”
I’d also say to you, since I’m in Iowa, I understand that a lot of candidates are making their way through Iowa these days. (Laughter.) You know? I mean, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? And Iowa is that first-in-the-nation state.
Let me tell you, I think — I know the people of Iowa take that responsibility to heart. But I hope you also take it as an opportunity. Because, right now, you deserve to know that every single Democrat running for President is opposed to the USMCA.
So, Iowa, you should let your voice be heard with the people that are coming to visit this state. You should remind these candidates for the highest office in the land that 50 percent of all exports from Iowa go to Mexico and Canada. Remind them that this trade deal has the strongest protections not just for jobs but for American workers and for the environment in the history of trade deals.
Tell them that Iowa needs the USMCA and they need to get behind the USMCA now. Iowa needs it. America needs it. Tell them it’s time to get it done this year. (Applause.) We’ve got a great opportunity.
I know you’ve got a great opportunity, Iowa, and I know you’re not bashful around here. So let them know how you feel. It’ll make a difference. Don’t doubt it for a second.
And finally, just let your voice be heard in the public debate. I mean, a letter to the editor, going on social media, call a local talk show — just talk to them about — about what this really means.
Because the truth of the matter is, this is ultimately going to be driven by the American people. And if the American people from here in Iowa and all across this country will send a clear message to Capitol Hill that we want Congress to get it done, Congress will get the USMCA done and they’ll get it done this year.
So let your voice be heard, Iowa, in every way possible. It’ll make a difference. (Applause.)
So thanks for coming out today. I want to thank — I want to thank Roger. I want to thank the whole team here at Accumold for such a warm, wonderful welcome. I want to thank your great governor for the job that she’s doing for the people of Iowa every day and all the other officials who are here. And I look forward to meeting as many of you as time permits before they whisk me away back to Washington, D.C.
But let me just leave here with a promise to each one of you. I promise you we’re going to continue to work our hearts out to bring this USMCA across the finish line. It’s going to make a real difference for Iowa, and it’s going to make a real difference for America.
And there’ll be plenty of credit to go around. The truth is, the President and I have been reaching across the aisle to Democrats in the House and the Senate. And I’m glad to report that many Democrats have already come out. Many Democrats have already come out with their support for this trade agreement.
The truth is, we all need to weigh in. And there’ll be plenty of credit to go around. And it’ll be a win not for one party; it’ll be a win for America when the USMCA gets done.
And I’m just going to leave here and promise you that we’re going to work hard on that. We’re going to keep fighting for all the policies that Iowa voted to advance in that election back in 2016. We’re going to keep working to make this economy more prosperous again. We’re going to keep working to make Iowa safer than ever before. We’re going to keep working so companies like Accumold can reach heights that they never even imagined.
And I just am confident that, with President Donald Trump in the White House, with great leadership at the state level like Governor Kim Reynolds, with hardworking Americans like you at great companies like this, and with God’s help, we’re going to keep making America great again.
Thanks, everybody. God bless you. God bless Iowa. And God bless America. (Applause.)
2:17 P.M. CDT