LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, was in Louisa County and Charlottesville on Saturday, November 2.
Pence was the keynote speaker at an event at Patriot Industries, an aluminum and steel manufacturing plant in Louisa. The event was meant to drum up support for the United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade deal between the three nations meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
"We estimate that it will create over 176,000 new jobs all across the country," Pence said in an interview with NBC29. "Including thousand of jobs here in Virginia in agriculture and in manufacturing."
The USMCA has been agreed to by all three nations. However, Democratic leaders have yet to put it to a vote in the House of Representatives. Pence claims that it's an intentional effort to block the bill.
"At a time when we see endless investigations and a partisan impeachment, this is a time for Democrats in Congress that represent Virginia to put politics aside," Pence said. "Put jobs, and workers, and agriculture, and Virginia first, and represent the USMCA."
“I know it’s gonna pass the House,” 5th District Representative Denver Riggleman added. “Hopefully the Democratic leadership will get the USMCA out. We’ve gotta have it, and for Virginia, it’s huge for us.”
In his speech, Pence said the deal also represents the administration's strong stance against China and their commitment to American manufacturing.
"Negotiations are on-going, but President Trump has made it clear - the era of economic surrender to China is over," Pence said, drawing applause from the crowd.
The event also featured a panel discussion about the benefits of the deal, featuring Riggleman, Former Governor George Allen, and 1st District Representative Rob Wittman.
For the owners and workers at Patriot Industries, the event was a surprise, but a welcome one.
"It's a great chance to showcase the power of American manufacturing," Tom Click, owner of Patriot Industries said.
"I was actually on the road when the news came down," Jeff McDaniel, a truck driver with Patriot, said. "I heard it on the radio that the Vice President was going to be here and I almost ran off the road."
After the event, Vice President Pence stopped briefly at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville. He then departed for a rally in Virginia Beach from Charlottesville - Albemarle Regional Airport.
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