Monday, Vice President Mike Pence (R) said that all states and U.S. territories are in the process of reopening their economies.
Pence made the comment in a teleconference with members of the Heritage Foundation. The Vice President provided an overview on the national level and then took questions and answers from participants. Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James moderated the call.
Pence thanked business owners for stepping up and retooling products/services for the COVID-19 fight. We have lost over 100,000 Americans; but our nation is making progress with this pandemic. The number of new cases are declining in many areas around the country. Many of the new cases are due to more available testing.
Pence credited public-private partnerships. Such as Project Air Bridge, and extraordinary logistics led by President Trump with greatly aiding in the delivery of PPE to where it was needed. President used the Defense Production Act to enlist the help of Ford, GE, etc. in getting the materials needed to fight the global pandemic.
Pence said that he had much gratitude for all of our business partners, large and small. No American that has required a ventilator has been denied a ventilator.
Pence said that the economic numbers are up, despite predictions of decline. “We added 2.5 million jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped. This is a testament to the strength of the American people and a pro-growth economy.
Pence thanked the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission for helping save lives and livelihoods.
Pence took a number of questions and comments from Heritage members and leadership.
Pence was asked: Small businesses are suffering from COVID-19 and recent unrest (riots, etc.). Does the administration have plans for small businesses?
“Small business/mainstreet America will be a priority in the next round of assistance,” Pence said. “Last week President Trump extended the PPP. The administration wants to get the economy open safely and responsibly. President Trump is determined to see a payroll tax cut as part of the next phase of relief.”
Pence said that part of the reason that the economy is coming back so strong is because of the 7.5 million jobs created just prior to the crisis. Pence credited President Trump’s pro-business, pro-worker policies, fighting for free and fair trade, etc. A recovery bill has to include pro-growth policies as well as liability protection as the economy opens up.
Pence said that all states and territories are in the process of re-opening. Places of worship are re-opening. The American people have let their voice be heard. There are significant emotional impacts on people in this effort. New Jersey opened up the Jersey Shore last week. Pence said that he went to Georgia and Florida to celebrate the communities that are safely going back to work again.
Pence said that President Trump will hold a Cabinet meeting later that day to address protection of seniors
Pence was asked: Medical equipment and pharmaceutical supply chains need to be stable instead of vulnerable to unstable and unreliable regimes. What are we, as the US, doing to ensure we are not depend on hostile foreign nations?
Pence responded that 30,000 ventilators are now on hand and that the administration is coordinating domestic supplies. The U.S. is in the process of ensuring that no matter what the future holds, the US will have the PPE equipment needed. “The free enterprise system of the US stood up at the urging of the President to assist fellow Americans in this critical moment.” Examples include changing production lines from clothing to face masks and re-purposing products. That has not happened since World War II. We have revolutionized testing. We needed to come up with a different system. Now over 22 million tests have been administered. In the next two to three weeks, approximately ten percent of the U.S. population will be tested. This is a testament to the great companies and a free enterprise system. Whether it was medical equipment, the pharmaceutical supply chain, etc. we learned in this process that we have been overly-dependent on production overseas, especially China. The Trump Administration is actively reviewing policies that will create incentives that will create the re-shoring of critical pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries in this countries. A cut in the corporate tax rate has helped. In the short-term, we are building the strategic national stockpile.
The administration has selected five companies as vaccine finalists. “We are very encouraged at the process being made” on vaccine development Pence said. Much of this is due to the President’s relentless leadership and support from Congress. Pence said that the administration is ramping up the production capacity for manufacturing vaccines now so that once a vaccine is approved, we can administer it rapidly.
Pence again praised that American free enterprise system. It is “A testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the American people.”
Economic developer and Heritage Foundation member Dr. Nicole Jones participated in the teleconference.
“Free enterprise works and provides the ingenuity and speed necessary to assist with COVID-19 relief efforts,” Dr. Jones said. “It was refreshing to hear Vice President Pence’s enthusiasm and gratitude toward the business community and the American worker. From retooling to produce personal protection equipment (PPE) to researching potential treatments, United States businesses have stepped up to help fellow Americans during a critical time in history. Earlier this month, the Trump Administration identified five pharmaceutical companies that have a high probability of producing a vaccine: Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck. All five companies received federal funding for research and development and have begun to produce the vaccine. Once the most viable candidate is approved by the FDA and CDC, the vaccines will be immediately available to administer.”
Prior to his service as Vice President, Mike Pence was the Governor of Indiana and served in the U.S. House of Representatives.