Remarks by Vice President Pence at the National Association of Manufacturers Summit
12:05 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you, Jay, for that kind introduction. Thank you for mentioning our new dog. I asked my wife for a motorcycle and I got a puppy -- (laughter) -- so I named it Harley.
It is wonderful to be with your today and great to be at the 2017 Summit for the most powerful voice for businesses that make things in America -- an organization leading innovation, creating opportunity, and pursuing progress every single day -- the National Association of Manufacturers. Welcome back to Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
It is an honor to have the opportunity to address you today. And I bring greetings from my friend -- and the best friend America manufacturers will ever have -- the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
It’s an honor to be here to express the gratitude of our President for our nation’s manufacturers. You are the engine of the American economy. And rest assured, President Trump is fighting every day to rev that engine. And thanks to his leadership and your ingenuity, American manufacturing is roaring once again. (Applause.)
But first, let me express a word of appreciation to all of you and this association and all of your membership. Since your founding more than 120 years ago, the National Association of Manufacturers has fought tirelessly for the time-honored American principles of free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty, and equal opportunity.
And not only do you advocate for the businesses in this room -- you really advocate for America itself. American manufacturers are the beating heart of our national life and always will be. (Applause.) To borrow a phrase, manufacturers make America and they make America great. (Applause.)
You make the cars on our roads, the planes in our skies. You make the food in our pantries and the tools in our sheds. You make the clothes that we wear and the gadgets we use. When it’s all said and done, you make our families and communities stronger. You improve the quality of life -- more prosperity -- and you make America succeed.
It’s amazing to think that at this very moment, more than 12 million Americans work at manufacturers in all 50 states. The overwhelming majority of manufacturers, too, are small businesses, and they contribute more than $2 trillion to our economy. And all told, manufacturers actually account for three out of every four dollars spent in the private sector on research and development.
But you do more than just make things -- you’re also model corporate citizens.
You know, anyone who’s ever gone to a baseball game or a bake sale, or a charity fundraiser or a cook-off at a local farm, or just walked down Main Street small-town America and looked at the names on the buildings and the signs, you see that America’s manufacturers support every worthy cause in every community, large and small.
You're woven into the very fabric of American life and you’re written into our future, too. Know that our President and all the American people are truly grateful for the corporate citizenship of manufacturers across America. Give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.) You make a difference every day. You really do. (Applause.)
But we want you to do even more. President Trump has promised, in his words, to “set the stage for a great revival” for our factories, to be back to “Buy American and Hire American” again. And thanks to the President’s decisive action, American manufacturing is getting stronger every day.
In the first five months of last year, American manufacturers lost 24,000 jobs. But in the first five months of this year, under the leadership of President Donald Trump, American manufacturers have created more than 55,000 new good-paying jobs all across the United States. (Applause.)
Going back decades, manufacturers have invested in jobs and factories in other countries, but this year company after company are making record investments worth billions of dollars in this country, creating American jobs. And as this organization announced in a report released at the White House just a few months ago, American manufacturers haven’t been this optimistic in 20 years. Confidence is back. Manufacturing is back. Because since day one of this administration, President Donald Trump has been fighting for manufacturers and the men and women who work on your factory floors, and he’ll keep fighting every day to lead an American manufacturing renaissance. I promise you that. (Applause.)
Just look at the President’s decisive action beginning with ending the era of excessive regulation of the past eight years. You know, the National Manufacturers Association -- or the National Association for Manufacturers has shown that federal red tape actually costs your businesses a staggering $19,500 per employee per year.
In the first 100 days of this administration, I’m proud to say that President Trump signed 14 bills under the Congressional Review Act to cut burdensome regulations, saving businesses like yours up to $18 billion in compliance cost per year.
This President, in fact, has signed more laws to cut through federal red tape than any President in American history -- and we’re just getting started. (Applause.)
One of my personal favorites is the President signed an executive order directing every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new federal regulations on American job creators.
And this President put America first not long ago when President Trump made the decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Paris Climate Accord. (Applause.) You know, one independent study found that the Paris Accord would have actually cost the U.S. economy more than 6.5 million manufacturing jobs in the next 25 years while giving countries like China and India virtually a free pass.
By withdrawing our nation from this terrible deal, President Trump put America first. He left the door opening to renegotiating the deal or coming up with a different agreement. But he put America first, and I promise the manufacturers in this room that President Donald Trump always will.
And the President has put a renewed emphasis on American energy. He approved the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines early in this administration, and the Dakota Pipeline is already rolling and Keystone is being built as we speak. And President Trump is fighting every day to make sure that American manufacturers have affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that you need to power your factories and power our future. We’re going to continue to drive an all-of-the-above energy strategy that gives low-cost energy available for job creators all across America, because energy drives a prosperous American future. (Applause.)
And last week was Workforce Development Week at the White House, and President Trump has been working -- worked very closely with our Department of Labor to ensure that the American people have the opportunity to get the job training to fill those good paying jobs that are open to companies like yours right now, ensuring that workers are there for the companies that can grow and the people can choose their future in our trades and in every area supporting manufacturing.
It is remarkable to think that nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be created in America in the next decade, but 2 million of those jobs will go unfulfilled [unfilled] if businesses can’t find the right people with the right skills. Skilled trades in particular are increasingly hard to come by, we hear. Electricians, welders, machinists are in high demand but too few Americans are given opportunities to pursue careers in these valuable areas.
President Trump is absolutely committed to changing all that. And last Thursday he signed an executive order to expand apprenticeships and vocational training to help every American find a rewarding career, make a great living, support themselves and their families, and to do it in a manufacturing and a building America. (Applause.)
I mean, the numbers speak for themselves. An amazing 90 percent of apprentices get jobs after they finish their program, and their average salary is an impressive $60,000. As I learned back when I was Governor of the State of Indiana, we need to create better pathways so our students can see the opportunities that are available in these jobs. It’s a foundation for a good life and a brighter future for themselves and for our country.
And under this President’s leadership, I’m confident that we’ll train the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow, and manufacturers like yours are going to continue to grow as a result.
But at this White House, with deregulation, with the efforts that we've made rolling back excessive red tape, with doing the kind of work that we've done to promote American energy and to reform workforce education in America -- that’s what President Trump just calls a good start.
If you haven’t noticed, the American people also elected a builder to be the 45th President of the United States. And I'll make you a promise: Before we're done in seven and a half years, President Donald Trump is going to rebuild the infrastructure of the United States of America. (Applause.)
Now, this is a President who knows that roads mean jobs and the right infrastructure supports growth in America. President Trump is committed to making historic investments in our national infrastructure so your businesses can get your goods to market, and so that America has the best roads, the best bridges, the best airports, and the best future we can possibly have.
And today, I want to assure you, before this summer is over, working with the leaders in the Congress even as we speak, President Donald Trump and this Congress will keep their promise to the American people, and we will repeal and replace Obamacare. (Applause.) We're going to do it.
We're going to rescue American businesses and the American people from the consequences of this failed policy. You all know the grim reality that businesses have faced under Obamacare. I’ve heard it from manufacturers large and small as I’ve traveled across the country on behalf of our President.
It’s the same story everywhere I go: Obamacare stifles your growth; harms your employees through its mandates, its taxes, its endlessly rising costs of insurance and premiums; and forces too many businesses, large and small, to make hard decisions that you just never have to make.
I literally have spoken to job creators around the country who have told me about the day in their small business that they had to sit their employees down, since Obamacare, and tell them that they just could no longer make it work that they would offer health insurance.
And for anybody that's ever been around a small business -- and I grew up in one -- you know, your employees are family. And it's just heartbreaking to see the choices that too many businesses have had to make in the wake of Obamacare.
And it's not only a heavy burden on your businesses, but Obamacare is burdening the American people every day. You know, last month, our administration issued a study showing how Obamacare has actually led to skyrocketing premiums all across this country. We found that premiums on the individual market have more than doubled since Obamacare went into effect. And in many states, they’ve more than tripled since Obamacare went into effect.
Remember, the last administration promised that Obamacare would lower premiums on the individual market by up to $2,500 for American families. Well, the truth is that premiums have actually increased by nearly $3,000 for American families since the advent of Obamacare.
At this moment, millions of Americans are facing double-digit premium hikes heading into 2018. And while costs are soaring, choices are plummeting because insurance companies are pulling out of Obamacare exchanges left and right.
Right now, a third of America's counties, including five whole states, only have one choice of Obamacare coverage, which means they essentially have no choice at all. And in the past few weeks, health insurers have announced exits from at least another 23 Obamacare markets, leaving tens of thousands of Americans with no insurance coverage whatsoever.
In Ohio, the last statewide insurer recently announced it would leave Obamacare in the Buckeye State, and more than 13,000 Ohio citizens will have no health insurance next year. In Missouri, 25 counties won’t have any coverage under Obamacare.
And while the last insurer in 94 of the 99 counties of Iowa just said that they'll actually stay through next year in the Iowa exchange, just yesterday they submitted a request for a staggering 43 percent increase in premiums, affecting some 72,000 people across Iowa.
The record is clear. The burden is great. Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go. (Applause.) And I want to promise you that this administration is literally working around the clock with leaders in the United States Senate to move forward legislation in the very near future that will repeal and replace Obamacare with a patient-centered healthcare system built on personal responsibility, free-market competition, and state-based reform.
And I'll promise you, President Donald Trump will never stop fighting to give American businesses and the American people the kind of healthcare they need and deserve. And under this President's leadership, we will bring the Obamacare nightmare to an end once and for all, and give the American people the choices in healthcare built on the principles of individual responsibility, state-based reform. That's the American way to reform healthcare. And that's what we'll drive and do. (Applause.)
And after we repeal and replace Obamacare, under President Trump's leadership and with the strong support of the leaders in Congress, we're going to pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan. And we’re going to do it this year. (Applause.)
The truth is, America’s tax code is one of the biggest barriers to success for working families and job creators like all of you that are gathered here. You know, I like that line that says, you know, the Internal Revenue Code is twice as long as the Bible, with none of the good news. (Laughter.) Well, that's about to change.
A little over a month ago, this administration laid out the President’s vision for a tax cut plan that will get this economy moving again. We’ll cuts taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. We’ll simplify the tax code by cutting seven brackets down to three -– 10, 25, and 35 percent. We’ll eliminate the alternative minimum tax, end almost every deduction, and under President Donald Trump, we will repeal the death tax once and for all. (Applause.)
And when it comes to businesses, our tax plan will put American companies, like our manufacturers, back on a path to jobs and real growth. You know, our corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the developed world, and our outdated system of worldwide taxation penalizes companies for being headquartered here in America. But not for long.
President Trump's plan: We're going to cut business taxes to a 15 percent rate so American companies can compete with companies around the world. (Applause.) We’ll enact a territorial tax that’s in line with the rest of the world. And we’ll cut taxes on the trillions of dollars that are locked away overseas so that you can invest those dollars in American workers, American jobs, and America’s future. (Applause.)
The bottom line is that President Trump’s tax cut plan will empower your companies to compete on a level playing field with businesses anywhere in the world. And, as we all know, when the field is level, American businesses win.
Let me take a moment to commend Speaker Paul Ryan and Leader Mitch McConnell for their diligent efforts in this administration. We’ve been working very closely with the leadership in the Congress to craft tax reform that will get this economy moving again. And I know Speaker Ryan will be addressing you in just a few moments, and we’re truly grateful for their diligent efforts working in partnership with this administration to pass the kind of tax relief that will be supportive of American families, supportive of American businesses, and get this economy moving.
So let me say to you: Discussions will continue. Details are being worked out. But I can assure you, with your support and the support of our leaders in Congress, we will get tax cuts done and we will get them done this year. (Applause.)
The truth is, President Trump has been fighting every day to bring back manufacturing, because he knows how vital you are to the life of our nation. I sure know it. You know, I grew up in the Hoosier State, had the privilege of being Governor of the State of Indiana. And we’re awful proud of manufacturing. You know, I like to say back where I come from, we do two things especially well: we make things and we grow things. The truth of the matter is you can talk about America that way too.
Our nation throughout our history has been defined by the innovation of manufacturing and by the production of agriculture. You’re a part of a great tradition in this country. Manufacturing means jobs. It means opportunities. It means prosperity. And the truth is, manufacturing has always been a staple of our economy and it always will be.
But let me close by saying that manufacturing is important to America for one more reason -- and it’s probably more important than any other reason. You know, yesterday America was heartbroken when we all learned that Otto Warmbier had passed away shortly after being restored to his family from the brutal regime in North Korea. It broke our hearts. The President and Melania, Karen and I offered our condolences and our prayers to Otto’s family and friends as they grieve the loss of this fine young man.
But be assured, as the President said yesterday, the United States of America condemns “the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn their latest victim,” and we deepen our “administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people” in the future. (Applause.)
But in the midst of that tragic news, earlier this week we learned that seven American sailors lost their lives on duty in the ocean south of Japan. And not long ago, my wife and I put our arms around the families of three Army Rangers who fell in the line of duty in Afghanistan.
And so I close with this thought, among the manufacturers that are gathered here today: In this time of widening challenges and unknowable threats, I want to assure you that you have a President who understands we do not build Navy ships and aircraft and the weapons that defend our freedom; we do not fill the arsenal of democracy without American manufacturing. For America to be prosperous, for America to be secure, American manufacturing must be strong.
And under President Donald Trump, the manufacturers that make America will be strong -– stronger than ever before. Our nation will have the manufacturing infrastructure we need to provide good-paying jobs to promote our prosperity, but also to protect our nation and to ensure a safe and prosperous future for ourselves and our posterity.
So I say to you with confidence, to all those gathered here at the National Association of Manufacturers: Together, we will make America prosperous again. Together, we will make America safe again. And to borrow a phrase, together, we will make America great again.
Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless your teams. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
12:26 P.M. EDT