Vice President Mike Pence kicked off a busy week for key 2020 officials in the state on Monday touring Schott North America Inc. in Duryea, Luzerne County and pushing for Congress to support the USMCA trade pact.
“The truth is as I stand here today, the USMCA is languishing in the House of Representatives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress refuse to bring the USMCA to the floor,” Pence said. “I came to Pennsylvania to say it’s time for the Democrats in Congress to put Pennsylvania first. It’s time to pass the USMCA.”
I came to Pennsylvania to say that the time has come for Democrats in Congress to put Pennsylvania jobs & workers first. Under the #USMCA, American manufacturing workers would get another raise in addition to the wage increases we’ve already seen under President @realDonaldTrump! pic.twitter.com/CCJida2MMS
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) October 22, 2019
During Pence’s 25 minute address, he credited policies put forth by President Donald Trump for the current state of the economy, which he described as “thriving,” but also delivered shots at former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats in Pennsylvania who have not voiced support for this new trade proposal.
Prior to Pence’s arrival in Luzerne County on Monday, Biden criticized Trump and Pence in a statement to Citizens Voice, claiming that their trade policies are hurting American workers.
“Donald Trump has talked tough on trade but has nothing to show for it, other than pain for America’s families. Mike Pence has been his complicit sidekick, propping up Trump’s trade wars and slighting hard-working Americans in Luzerne County and across the country,” Biden wrote.
Biden also said he doesn’t support the USMCA because he doesn’t think to does “enough to ensure protections for the rights of our workers are enforced, and it includes a give-away for ‘Big Pharma’ rather than prioritizing reducing prescription drug costs for American families.”
Donald Trump talks tough on trade but has nothing to show for it—other than pain for America’s families. Mike Pence has been his complicit sidekick, propping up Trump’s reckless trade wars and slighting hard-working Americans across the country. https://t.co/DPQRNCeA0A
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 21, 2019
Pence read the statement from Biden during the address and provided a direct response saying that Pennsylvanians support the trade pact.
“Joe, Pennsylvanians will not be fooled,” Pence said. “They know the USMCA is a win for Pennsylvania and a win for America and it’s time you got on board.”
Pence went on to criticize the economic record during President Barack Obama’s time in office.
Biden wasn’t the only person that Pence called out during his speech. The Vice President also said it was time to “turn up the heat” on Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) to support the bill and pushed for Pennsylvanians to pressure both Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to back the effort as well.
Toomey has been the Pennsylvania Republican most vocal in opposition to the USMCA and various Trump trade policies.
Pence has made multiple visits in the state in an effort to boost the trade pact. In August, Pence pushed the trade pact in Franklin County. In early June, Pence visited a manufacturing facility in York County with a few members of the state’s congressional delegation before he headlined a state party dinner in Camp Hill, where he talked about the importance of retaining the state in 2020 and touted the Trump administration’s trade and border policies.
During this visit, Pence was joined by Reps. Fred Keller (R-Snyder) and Dan Mesuer (R-Luzerne), who lauded the USMCA as “vital” to pass.
“Today’s event with the Vice President reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to passing the USMCA,” Meuser said in a statement. “It is vital that we promote free, fair, and reciprocal trade, both globally and across the United States.”
Ahead of Pence’s visit, Wilkes-Barre City Democratic Councilwoman Beth Gilbert McBride said that the Trump administration’s policies have hurt the region.
“The failures of the Trump administration continue to mount. When Pence visits our state, he won’t be able to explain or defend the administration’s broken promises — because families in Luzerne County have seen the challenges for working families under Trump with our own eyes,” she said in a statement. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence are clearly more interested in helping their rich friends than standing up for hardworking Pennsylvanians, and their repeated failure to help the middle class speaks for itself.”
She also called the tax reform bill passed during the Trump presidency as the “Trump tax scam.”
Pence’s visit is just the beginning of a busy week in the commonwealth political scene. Former Vice President Joe Biden visits Northeast Pennsylvania on Tuesday for a private fundraiser and will be delivering an economic address Wednesday morning in Scranton. Trump will also be making an official visit to the state on Wednesday to provide the keynote address at the annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh.
The full address from Pence in Luzerne County on Monday can be seen below.