3:16 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Iowa! (Applause.) To Governor Reynolds; to Senator Grassley; Senator Ernst; former Congressman David Young; to EPA’s Assistant Administrator Anne Idsal; to Speaker of the House Pat Grassley –- (applause); all the local leaders and guests and neighbors and friends; and to Rob Manning and Manning Farms: It is great to be back in the Hawkeye State. Thank you for that wonderful, warm welcome. (Applause.)
I’m really honored to see you all turned out today. Thank you for taking some time away from work and your obligations to talk about an issue of great importance to Iowa and great importance to the nation.
But let me say thanks to a few friends who are with us today, not just — not just do I want to thank her for that overly generous introduction, but I have to tell you, there is no more dynamic or hardworking governor in the United States of America than Governor Kim Reynolds. Would you join me in thanking her? Take a bow, Kim. (Applause.) She’s doing a phenomenal job for Iowa. (Applause.)
And let me thank another friend of mine who I’ve come to know well. In my duties as Vice President, I find my way to the United States Senate on a regular basis, and I get a chance to interact with both of your senators. But I’ll tell you, this one — this one is amazing. She likes to say she’s a mother, a soldier, a leader. She was born and raised here, combat veteran, served our country for almost a quarter of a century in the Armed Forces of the United States. And I’ll tell you today: She is a champion for Iowa and a champion for the conservative agenda. Join me in thanking Senator Joni Ernst for her strong and principled leadership. (Applause.) Thank you, Senator.
And finally, it’s a real privilege to be here with, frankly, a hero of mine. I first discovered him on CSPAN back in the 1990s — (laughter) — when he was serving in the United States House of Representatives. And I said, “I like that guy.” He would go on to the United States Senate. In fact, he served in the Congress now for more than 40 years. And I can tell you, he has been a champion for his fellow Iowa farmers like no one else. He has been a champion for our constitutional liberties as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and he’s obviously a terrific grandfather. Join me in thanking Senator Chuck Grassley for his great, great leadership for Iowa. (Applause.)
It really is great to be here with so many friends. And let me mention one more friend of mine, who, when I told him last night that I was headed to Iowa, I think he looked just a little bit jealous. But he’s a man who loves the state of Iowa and a man the people of Iowa put their confidence in three years ago. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
But it is great to be back on a farm. And it’s especially great to be here at a — at a great family farm here in Iowa. You know, I grew up south of Highway 40 myself in southern Indiana. (Laughter.) I didn’t grow up on a farm but we — we had some cows and I hung up — hung out all the time with friends who were on family farms. And this one we’re standing on today is so emblematic of everything that’s great about family farming.
You know, I’m told that Rob Manning is just the latest in a long line of farmers in his family. He’s tilled this land and raised animals for five generations. And today, the hardworking men and women of Manning Farms have helped the Hawkeye State earn its place as the nation’s largest corn producer, second-largest soybean producer, and the number-one producer of pork in the country. I mean, the truth is, what you grow here, what you raise here, you export around the world. So would you join me in thanking the Manning family and Rob and the whole team here at Manning Farms for all their leadership and all their contributions to the life of this state and nation? (Applause.)
You know, the truth is, what you grow here, what you raise here in Iowa, you — you export not just across the country, but all over the wider world. So we’re going to talk about trade today, which Iowa knows a whole lot about. We’re going to talk about a great opportunity for Iowa workers and Iowa businesses.
But before that, let me just take a minute to reflect on the progress we’ve made because of the confidence the people of Iowa placed in this President and our administration back in 2016.
You know, when I think of the last three years, there’s really only one way I can describe it: It’s been three years of action. (Applause.) It’s been three years of results. It’s been three years of promises made and promises kept. But we’re just getting started, Iowa. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it: After eight years of the weakest post-recession economy since the Great Depression, President Trump said that we could get this economy moving again if we put commonsense, conservative principles and free enterprise into practice. And President Donald Trump delivered.
This President has actually signed more bills rolling back federal red tape than any President in American history. And this President actually signed a measure that would ensure that farmers and ranchers can control and own their land “in fee simple,” as we like to say. Private property was restored when the President repealed the disastrous Waters of the USA rule. (Applause.)
And President Trump also kept a promise when he signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. We cut taxes across the board for working families, for businesses large and small. And when he did that, we ended the death tax for nearly every American farmer. Death is no longer a taxable event. (Applause.)
And we also passed reforms and made it possible for farmers to immediately deduct 100 percent of the cost of new equipment. Anybody around farming knows those input costs play a critical role in the vitality of farming and — and being able to literally write off those costs in a single year made a tremendous difference.
So it’s been about rolling back red tape. It’s been about cutting taxes. But we’ve also unleashed American energy. Do you know, next year, the United States will be a net exporter of oil for the first time in 75 years? (Applause.)
And last week, I want to tell you, with the strong leadership of Governor Reynolds and with the unrelenting leadership of Senator Grassley and Senator Ernst, President Trump announced an agreement on the renewable fuel standard that will ensure net production reaches 15 billion gallons every year. (Applause.)
And I want to thank — I want to thank your senators and your governor for being such champions — such champions of renewable fuels. I mean, Iowa is not just going to be feeding the country, we’re going to — we’re going to continue to fuel the country as well. (Applause.)
So, as we cut taxes, roll back regulation, unleash American energy, the results have been amazing. Since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small in the city and on the farm have created 6.5 million new jobs, including 22,000 jobs right here in the Hawkeye State. (Applause.)
But I’m here today, my friends, because, for all the progress we’ve made, we’ve still got work to do. Because as you heard from this stage earlier, we have an incredible opportunity before us.
Over one year ago, President Trump negotiated the largest trade deal in American history: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. (Applause.) I was there. I was there all along the way for a lot of the negotiations, and I’ll tell you what: The President drove a hard bargain. He put American jobs, American workers, and American farmers first, and negotiated a great deal.
But as I stand before you today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress have refused to bring it to the floor of the House of Representatives. And that’s why I’m here.
I came to Iowa today to turn up the heat. (Applause.) I came to Iowa today to say it’s time for the Democrats in Congress to do their job, put politics aside, and pass the USMCA this year. (Applause.)
The truth is — and we all know it — Democrats have been spending all their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment. But enough is enough. The American people deserve better. (Applause.) I mean, the time has come — the time has come for Congresswoman Cindy Axne and all the Democrats in Congress that represent Iowa to put Iowa first, put America first, and pass the USMCA this year. (Applause.)
And I’ll make you a promise: Whatever the Democrats in Congress choose to spend their time on, President Trump and I are never going to stop fighting for you and the agenda that Iowa voted for in 2016. (Applause.) Count on it.
We’re not going to allow Democrats in Congress to distract us from working on behalf of all of you and the people of this country. We’re never going to stop delivering on a strong national defense, secure borders, more conservative judges to our courts, and jobs, jobs, jobs. (Applause.) We’re never going to stop fighting for that agenda because that agenda has made America great again. (Applause.)
So I stand before you today, our nation and our liberties are more secure. Unemployment is at a 50-year low, and more Americans are working today than ever before. And the truth is, the American economy has come roaring back because of the leadership of this President, because of the strong support of our allies in the Congress and in state houses around the country.
But I want to assure you, the President and I also know this economy has mostly come back because all of you. Because given the opportunity of more freedom, more opportunity, the American people have stepped up. And with their hard work and dedication and commitment, you brought the American economy back. It’s one story at a time, one family at a time.
I mean, this — the truth is, it’s stories like a farmer that I heard about on the way here nearby in Dallas City, whose family has been a pillar of the community for generations. In fact, I was told today that when they first started out, his family used draft horses to plow their fields, and had to practically feed their livestock by hand. But today, that same farm has drawn national attention by using state-of-the-art technology. They’re producing more crops at a lower cost. They’re making this community, this state, and this nation proud. So would you join me in recognizing Tom Barrett and the whole Barrett family farm? Where are you all? (Applause.) Thank you, Tom.
I’m told we also have with us the first-generation owners of a farm just a few miles down the road. They started it three decades ago with just a few dollars to their name. And since then, they’ve grown that farm to more than 150 employees, hundreds of head of cattle and hogs. And as they’ve said, most importantly, it’s where they raised their four daughters and two sons. They are proof of the American Dream, in this first- generation family farm. So would you join me in giving a warm round of applause to two hardworking farmers here in Iowa that represent all — everything that’s great about agriculture? Brett and Teresa Voss, where are you? (Applause.) Take a bow. Here we are. Thanks, Brett. Thanks, Teresa.
I mean, I mentioned these two families because they’re really emblematic of each and every one of you. They’re proof that you give American farmers and American workers a level playing field, that our farmers and our ranchers and our workers can compete and win with anyone in the world. It’s the truth. (Applause.)
And that’s why, since the first day of this administration, we’ve been working to open up markets all over the world. I’m proud to report to you that President Trump renegotiated our trade agreement with South Korea. Earlier this week, the President actually signed agreements with Japan that not only will expand digital trade but will expand agricultural trade by billions of dollars a year to Japan. (Applause.)
This President has also put China on notice that the era of economic surrender is over. We’ve taken a strong stand to demand that China open their markets to what we make and what we grow and treat American businesses fairly. (Applause.)
The President has been taking a strong stand, but in just the last few weeks, China announced the purchase of more than 2 million metric tons of soybeans. And as I learned on the way here from our U.S. Trade Representative, we’re going to welcome a Chinese delegation to our nation’s capital a little bit later this week. (Applause.) The negotiations are going forward with China, but I promise you, President Trump is going to continue to stand strong for American workers and American farmers. (Applause.)
So we’ve made great progress, but make no mistake about it: As you’ve heard from this stage today, when we get the USMCA done, it’s going to be a big win for America, and a big win for American farmers. I mean, the truth is, we’re gathered here today on this beautiful farm on this breezy day because it’s time for Congress to act. It’s time for Congress to pass the USMCA. (Applause.)
And you know why. According to the International Trade Commission, the USMCA is going to add about $68 billion to our economy, right out of the gate. And we predict, conservatively, that it will create more than 175,000 new jobs. They also proposed that the USMCA will increase American agricultural exports by more than $2 billion.
Now, here in Iowa, this great state already exports more than $6.6 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico every year. In fact, nearly half of all of Iowa’s exports go to Mexico and Canada. And nearly 100,000 good-paying Iowa jobs depend on exports. That’s why your governor, that’s why your senators, that’s why your President, are demanding that Congress pass the USMCA and pass it this year. (Applause.) Iowa is depending on it. (Applause.)
And the truth is, Iowa’s farmers and ranchers really have the most to gain, since this great state is the nation’s second-largest agricultural exporting state. You produce more than $10.3 billion in goods every single year. And under the USMCA, we know these numbers are only going to grow, supporting jobs and opportunities and families across Iowa. It’s going to create more prosperity all across this state. And that’s why I wanted to come here to talk about it.
The truth is, we can get it done but it’s going to take all of us to do it. I came here to turn up the heat. But now it’s time for Iowans to turn up the heat on your Democrats in Congress and tell them Iowa needs the USMCA this year. (Applause.) Will you do it? (Applause.)
I mean, I want you to — I want you to reach out to your elected officials in Washington, D.C. Tell them — say, “I ran into Mike on a farm the other day” — (laughter) — “and he was pointing out to me that half of our exports from Iowa, as the governor had said, go to Canada and Mexico.” And we got this great new trade agreement that’s a win for agriculture. It’s a — it’s a win for Iowa, a win for America and you need to get it done. I mean, tell them what the USMCA is going to mean to Iowa farmers. But let me save you a nickel. You don’t need to call Senator Joni Ernst or Senator Chuck Grassley because they’re leading the charge in the United States Senate for the USMCA. (Applause.)
The President I couldn’t be more grateful for their leadership. But right here in Waukee, there are some people you can call. (Laughter.) I mean, why don’t you call Congresswoman Cindy Axne? Call Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer. And while you’re at it, call Congressman Dave Loebsack, and tell them, “Iowa needs the USMCA.” (Applause.)
And by the way, after you — after you make that call to the people representing Iowa, you know, it seems like every four years, about this time, you see a lot of people coming through Iowa, right? It seems like there’s a lot of politicians making their way through this state, getting ready for next year’s election. This first-in-the-nation state of Iowa. (Applause.) And I got to tell you — I got to tell you, you need to know, every single Democrat running for President is opposed to the USMCA.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: So if you run into him at a diner, or on a street corner — which I know is pretty common around here in Iowa — (laughter) — you need to tell the Democrats running for the highest office in the land that Iowa needs the USMCA. (Applause.)
I mean, I’ll tell you, one of the things I love about Iowa is that it’s so much like Indiana — people with big hearts and strong opinions. (Laughter.) So let them hear your opinion. It will make a difference.
Listen, I want to thank you for coming out today. I really do. Coming out in the middle of a busy week, taking some time to focus on an issue that’s so important to this state, so important this nation.
And I — let me — let me say again, how grateful I am to Senator Grassley, Senator Ernst, and your great Governor Kim Reynolds. Would you give them one more round of applause? They are just incredible champions. (Applause.) Thank you so much.
And also, just on behalf of my wife, Karen, and our family, let me just take this opportunity also to say thank you for the privilege of being your Vice President. It is the greatest honor of my life. (Applause.) Thank you for the confidence you placed in your President and his Vice President.
And finally — finally, let me say it’s also great to be back on a farm. I’m pretty partial to the farm. (Laughter.) I mean, the truth is, farmers have contributed so much to the life of this nation, you can never calculate all of it. And I’m not just talking about to the economy throughout the long history of this country. But farmers and family farmers have contributed so much vitality to our communities and to our states. Farmers have served in our armed forces. Their patriotism and their values have strengthened this nation throughout our history.
You know, I’m always struck — that book that I try and open every single morning in a little quiet time, how many times we’re told to consider the farmer. And I believe that’s because in — in the farmer, we — we find all the virtues that lead to a happy and productive life: honesty, integrity, hard work, resilience, family, and faith.
And so you being out here today, and the support that you have shown to this President and his Vice President, our agenda, means that much more to me because it comes from the American farmer. It comes from the best of America. (Applause.)
And in the days and weeks that lie ahead, I’ll make you a promise. I’ll make you promise. You know, one of the more humorous things that I ever hear is when people will stop me as I’m traveling around the country and they say, “Tell the President just to keep going forward.” You know, that’s something you never have to tell President Donald Trump. (Laughter and applause.)
I tell people, like we used to say in Indiana, “All the reverse is stripped out of that pickup truck. It only goes forward and we’re never going to stop fighting for the agenda that Iowa voted for.” (Applause.) I promise you.
We’re never going to stop fighting — never going to stop fighting for the policies that will revive the American economy, strengthen the constitutional foundation of our courts, rebuild our military.
And I know that with your continued support, we’re going to keep America growing strong. We’re going — we’re going to make America safer than ever before. We’re going to make America more prosperous than ever before. When we get this USMCA done and on the President’s desk, with President Donald Trump in the White House, with these great leaders representing and leading you from the Congress to the state house, and with God’s help, we’re going to keep America great. Thank you very much. (Applause.) God bless you, Iowa. And God bless America. (Applause.)
3:42 P.M. CDT