Vice President Mike Pence visited the Blain's Farm & Fleet Distribution Center in Janesville, Wisconsin—Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's hometown—and took the time to discuss President Donald Trump's agenda and vision for the future of America.
Declaring the Trump administration has the "biggest, boldest and best agenda this country has ever seen," he said that with the Republican-led Congress' help, that agenda will become the future of the country. The central piece of that agenda, he added, was jobs for ordinary Americans.
The following is a complete transcript of the speech:
Thank you so much. Thank you to my friend, Speaker Paul Ryan, for your wonderful introduction. It is great to be in Janesville, the home of the Speaker of the House of the United States of America.
Janesville has almost taken on an epic category in America because what works in Janesville will work for the American people. And I'm just delighted to be with all of you today. And I'm deeply humbled by the esteem expressed by my friend and your neighbor, Paul Ryan. And let me just assure you, people all across America are grateful to the people of Janesville for continuing to send Speaker Paul Ryan to Washington, D.C. So thank you for that.
I also understand that your mom, Betty, is here. Where is mom at? Can mom take a bow? Would you mind standing up? Paul Ryan's mom, everybody. This is a big deal. Turn around and wave at the media. Wonderful to see you and thank you for being with us today.
The president and I are grateful for your son's principled leadership in the House of Representatives. It seems like just yesterday, 16 years ago, when I arrived in Washington, D.C.—just a couple of years after Paul arrived there. We were both young and dashing congressmen. And one of us changed—and one of us looks exactly like he did the day you sent him.
But I'm deeply humbled to call your congressmen and our Speaker my friend. And I know for a fact that, Paul, your partnership with this administration is going to benefit the American people for generations to come, and we're grateful. Would you mind just giving him one of those standing ovations you gave out to a few of us? He sure does deserve it.
Also, it's really great to be back in Wisconsin. Thanks to all of you, your hard work, your support and your prayers, Wisconsin voted to make Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States of America, and he and I couldn't be more grateful.
It was quite a campaign. And it's already been quite an administration too, hasn't it? How many of you watched the president's address to the Congress on Tuesday night, show of hands. How about that? What you saw three nights ago is literally what I see every day—the boundless optimism, the energy and unshakable faith in the American people and the ability of the American people to make America great again. That's what you saw, and that's what inspired the nation.
It's deeply humbling for me to serve as vice president of the United States. I'm just a small-town guy from southern Indiana. My grandfather actually immigrated to this country, came over on a boat from Ireland, went through Ellis Island and drove a bus in Chicago for 40 years. I was actually named after my grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley. That's who Michael Richard Pence got his name from.
I mean, I can't imagine what my grandfather is thinking about looking down from glory, except that he's very surprised about his grandson. But also that he was right. He was right about America. Because anybody can be anybody in "the land of the free and the home of the brave." And it's a joy to be with you today.
And it's a joy for me to serve as vice president in this country because America has a president with broad shoulders and a big heart. And speaking of which, on behalf of the president of the United States, let me say thank you, Wisconsin, for your support for our new commander-in-chief and our new president, Donald Trump.
It was hardworking Americans like all of you who were some of our biggest supporters. Communities just like Janesville were really the wellspring of support for President Donald Trump in this campaign. And on his behalf, I want to thank you for that support, and thank you for being here today. It's a privilege to be joined by a couple other people I want to mention before I get to the body of my remarks.
I hope you can sense the caliber, the character, the experience and the extraordinary confidence that our new secretary of Health and Human Services brings to this task. Dr. Tom Price, President Trump and I and people across this country are grateful that you have stood up to fill this important role in the life of our nation at such a time as this. Would you thank him again?
And I'm also honored to be joined today by another great, dedicated public servant. Senator Ron Johnson, thank you for being here, thank you for your great leadership, and congratulations. Congratulations on the renewal of your six-year contract here in Wisconsin. We couldn't be more pleased.
But I also want to thank all the business leaders who are with us today, including and maybe most especially, our host, Jane Blain Gilbertson, and the Blain's Farm and Fleet team. What an awesome company. What an awesome leader. What a great American success story.
Jane got together all these great people from here in Janesville, and we did some listening today, didn't we? As Paul said, we listened to the local farmers, and builders and job creators. I really enjoyed our discussion, and I appreciate the candid feedback that you shared with us that we'll carry back to Washington, D.C.
But last but not least, let me just say thanks—thanks to all of you here who are part of this incredible Farm and Fleet team. The employees and the families that came out today—you are the backbone of our economy, of our country, of Janesville, and the President, the Speaker, and all of us are grateful for your character, your work ethic and all you do to make this a great place to live, and to work and to raise a family. Give yourselves a round of applause, folks.
But I'm grateful to be here to talk about family business. The president and I are going to continue to work tirelessly on behalf of small businesses across this country because I grew up in a small-business family, in a small-business town. My dad was in the gas station business. I worked at a gas station as a gas station attendant—had my name on my shirt, right. Little blue short-sleeve shirt, when I was only 14 years of age, and used to—for those of you that are a little bit younger, a gas station attendant—if you could imagine, if you pulled into a gas station and someone came running toward your car, and filled it up, and washed the windshield, and checked the tires, and didn't charge you any more money for it. That was where I grew up in a small business.
And as the world knows, the president grew up in a family business too. I mean, he and I both know the sacrifices that are required for a small family business in communities like where I grew up, Queens where he grew up and in—and right here in Janesville—long hours, hard work. And we both know the fundamental truth of our economy: When small business is strong, America is strong, and we're going to fight every day for small business America.
President Trump and I want you to become stronger than ever, and I'll tell you what right now. President Donald Trump is the best friend Wisconsin businesses will ever have. You might have gotten that impression Tuesday night, just a couple days ago. He actually talked about an employer up here. I don't know if you heard about Harley-Davidson—here in Wisconsin. The president actually hosted Harley-Davidson at the White House. It was an honor for me to join him. And you saw him talk about that in his speech to the Congress. And companies like Blain's Farm and Fleet are the engines of the economy, Harley-Davidson, and as President Trump said, whether it's going to be to kick-start that engine or turn the key of that engine, we're going to restart the engine of the American economy and create jobs and prosperity and growth like never before. I promise you that.
In fact, exactly what he's doing—it's, in fact, already happening. On Day One, he went right to work on doing job-destroying policies and executive orders of the—eight years. After years of delays, for instance, President Trump authorized the construction of the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, creating thousands of American jobs and strengthening our energy infrastructure. He signed legislation, thanks to the Congress and Speaker Ryan and Senator Johnson, he signed legislation already to roll back reams of red tape and he's instructed every agency in Washington, D.C., to find two regulations to get rid of before they issue any new regulations on businesses and entrepreneurs in America.
He's taken decisive action to end illegal immigration once and for all to strengthen our borders and uphold the laws of the United States of America. And businesses around America are already reacting and responding to President Trump's call to buy American and hire American, and they're doing that with optimism and investment all across the country. Literally from coast to coast, and especially here in the Midwest, companies are announcing they're keeping jobs and creating new ones—tens of thousands of jobs literally since Election Day. It's not just the stock market that's taken a positive leap forward, but companies like Ford Motor Company, just next door in Michigan, recently announced that they were not going to do a plant in Mexico and, instead, they were going to expand a plant in Michigan. And they called it a "vote of confidence" in President Donald Trump and his vision for America. And other businesses are joining them.
I've got to tell you, this administration has the biggest, boldest and best agenda this country has ever seen, and we're going to pass it with the support of Speaker Ryan and our great leadership in the House and in the Senate, from top to bottom. And let me make you a promise: The Obamacare nightmare is about to end. Despite the best efforts of some activists and town hall meetings around the country, the truth of the matter is the American people know—Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go.
I heard it today. I heard it today. I don't know if we're going to stop by Italian House later—but I'm hungry.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Now we're not.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Paul said, "Now we're not." Can't announce that stuff in advance. But come on, Edmund, do you got, like, a to-go thing or something there? Would that be all right? Can I get Italian House to go? Would that be all right with everybody, man?
We were just hearing from Edmund a minute ago—he's a great employer, a great American success story here in Janesville, but he talked about the weight that Obamacare has placed on his great family-owned business. And it's a weight that's been placed on businesses and employers all across this country, let alone the weight it's placed on American families.
I mean, literally, it literally is just a long list of broken promises, isn't it? I mean, remember all the promises about Obamacare? They told you the cost of health insurance would go down, right? Not true. They told us if you like your doctor, you could keep him. Not true. They told us if you like your health insurance plan, you could keep it. Not true. I mean, talk about your fake news. I mean, the truth is—the truth is just virtually every promise of Obamacare has been broken.
Today, Americans are paying $3,000 a year more on average for their health insurance than when Obamacare was passed into law. And premiums are skyrocketing—last year by more than 25 percent on average around the country, millions have lost their plans and lost their doctors. And not only that, Obamacare, as Edmund was describing, is a job-killer, and everybody knows it.
The last few years, it's been hard enough to get ahead, and Obamacare has only made it much harder and, in many ways, if not impossible for many small businesses. The endless premium hikes, the reams of red tape eat up time and money that would be better spent growing your business and benefiting your workers. And every year the burden grows, so do the hard choices that you have to make.
But not for long. I'm going to make you a promise—you heard the president say it—and give direction to the Congress. And it's just going to start happening in just a few days. We're going to repeal Obamacare once and for all, and eliminate all its mandates and taxes and intrusion into your personal lives and into the lives of your business.
And best of all—best of all, the President directed the Congress right after that election today to—at the same time that we repeal Obamacare, we're going to replace it with something that actually works and lowers the cost of health insurance for every American. The President and I want every American to have access to quality, affordable health insurance. That's why we're going to pass a better law that lowers the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government. And we've got an incredible team working literally every single day around the clock to get that done. In Secretary Price, America has one of the leading experts on healthcare in the country—I hope you picked up he's a medical doctor. All right? I mean, how many times in Washington—this is only the third time in the history of the Department of Health and Human Services that a physician has led that department.
The president and I are working with him, with Speaker Ryan and his outstanding team in the House of Representatives with Leader McConnell, Senator Johnson, with all of our leaders in Congress, and we're putting the finishing touches on our plan, even as this weekend rolls out. A better plan for a brighter future that's built on a foundation of individual freedom and personal responsibility will replace Obamacare.
The president talked about it the other night, but you know the outlines—we're going to give Americans the freedom to buy health insurance that's best for you and end the era of government-mandated health insurance in this country. We're going to let you buy health insurance across state lines, the way you buy life insurance, the way you buy car insurance. That's how you bring down the cost of health insurance—you create a national marketplace and then you get that little lizard and you get Flo on television and let them start selling cheaper health insurance to every American. That's the American way.
We'll make also—make sure, I promise you, that Americans struggling with preexisting conditions have access to the coverage and the care that they need. And we'll give states the flexibility and the freedom and the resources they need to take care of our most vulnerable. You know, just the other day, I was talking to one of my favorite elected officials in America, Governor Scott Walker. I mean, what is in the water here in Wisconsin? Governor Scott Walker is not only leading the association of fellow governors of his party across the country, but he's a recognized national leader and I'm honored to call him a friend.
As a former governor myself, he and I both know that every state is unique. The challenges here in Wisconsin are different than they are down in Illinois, different than they are in the state of Indiana, Minnesota. And what Scott Walker is doing is he's pulled together governors from around the country, we met last weekend in Washington, D.C. And we're working on ensuring that when we repeal and replace Obamacare, that we're going to allow states to have the flexibility to craft state-based solutions that will work for the people of their individual states. What will work in Wisconsin is better designed by the people of Wisconsin for the needs of the most vulnerable in this state. And I'm grateful for his leadership.
And despite what the other side is saying, all the—creating anxiety for Americans, the president said it last fall in Philadelphia, he said it again this week: We're going to have an orderly transition to a better healthcare system that finally puts the American people first.
So it's about health care right out of the gate. And our 45th president has said that's the No. 1 priority, and we're going right to work on it in just a matter of days. But President Trump's agenda doesn't stop there. I could keep you here the rest of the afternoon to tell you about all the things the president [has] planned, but let me touch on a few.
I loved it when he was out campaigning in Wisconsin and I was a little bit myself. President Trump, you see, had a three-part agenda: Jobs, jobs and jobs. And this president is going to get this economy moving again by passing the biggest package of tax relief since the days of Ronald Reagan.
With the strong support of Speaker Ryan and Senator Ron Johnson, we're going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms. We're also going to keep rolling back job-killing regulations, rein in un-elected bureaucrats so they can't cripple the economy from the comfort of their taxpayer-funded metal desks in Washington, D.C.
We're going to end wasteful government spending and restore fiscal responsibility to our nation's capital. We're going to pass an infrastructure package so that America, once again, has the best roads, bridges, highways, airports that we've ever had in the history of this nation.
President Trump and I believe that roads mean jobs. And not just road jobs; when you have the right infrastructure, this builder who's become president knows the right investments and the right infrastructure is [sic] going to make for a more prosperous Wisconsin and a more prosperous America.
And, ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake about it: Thanks to President Trump, this economy is going to grow faster than ever before. But making America great again also means restoring safety to our streets, keeping our country secure, and President Trump hasn't wasted any time on that either.
I'll tell you what, in my lifetime, I couldn't be more proud, because I've never seen at this level—and they know it—President Trump stands with the men and women who serve in law enforcement all across this country like no one I've ever met. We're going to stand with those men and women who keep our communities safe every single day. And we're going to continue to take steps to make sure that people that are coming into this country don't represent a threat to our families or to our way of life.
President Trump is standing tall with our allies, standing up to our enemies. He's also working to rebuild our military. I'm the proud father of a United States Marine. And truth of the matter, in recent years, we've seen budget cuts that have failed to provide our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with the resources that they need to do their jobs. That's all about to change.
Under President Donald Trump, with the leadership of this Congress, we're going to rebuild our military. We're going to restore the arsenal of democracy. We're going to make sure our armed forces have the resources and training they need to protect our nation starting right now.
My friends, President Trump is keeping his promises, promises he made to the people of Wisconsin and promises he made to the American people. And that includes one of his most consequential promises. Out on the campaign trail, there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States. The President said that he would promise to name someone to the Supreme Court in the tradition of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia. And I promise you, in Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump has kept his word to nominate a jurist who will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in the Constitution of the United States of America. And we look forward to him being confirmed by the United States Senate.
Health care reform, tax reform, regulatory reform, taking steps to make America secure, ensuring that the highest court in the land upholds our highest ideals. That's what it looks like to make America great again. And President Trump is fighting to make that happen every single day, every single moment. And we're going to continue fighting.
Now, we're hearing from plenty who want to stick with the status quo, whether it be on health care or other issues—whether it's the media, the establishment, insiders and the rest, they have no problem standing in the way of change. But trust me, whatever challenges face us today, we're going stay in the promise-keeping business. And President Trump is going to deliver on this moment for the people of the United States of America.
And we're going to make America more prosperous again. We're going to have a better healthcare system that respects the doctor-patient relationship and harnesses the power of the private marketplace. We're going to make America safe again. And with your help and with God's help, I promise you, Wisconsin, I promise you, Janesville, we're going to make America great again.
Thank you very much. Thank you for coming out today. And just God bless you. God bless America.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.