12:03 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. And thank you, Hector. I’m thrilled to be here with so many of our incredible leaders in the Latino business community. And you folks are good business people. I know that. I know that for a fact. I’ve had to compete against you for a long time. (Laughter.) In fact, I said, I want to get out of that; I want to be President. It’s easier. (Laughter.)
But I especially want to thank Chairman Hector Barreto for the invitation and for the many years of his leadership on behalf of America’s small businesses. I also want to recognize Secretary Chao who’s joining us today. Elaine? Hi, Elaine. (Applause.) You’re doing a fantastic job, by the way. Thank you very much, Elaine.
Most of all, I want to thank all of you, the Latino business leaders, who are living proof that the American Dream is back and stronger than ever.
The Latino community embodies the pioneering spirit of America. We’re a nation that loves adventure — and you love adventure — (laughter) — that celebrates risk-taking, and that embraces faith and family as the true center of American life.
As President, I am committed to unleashing the full potential of the Latino community by removing government burdens, by restoring safety and security to our neighborhoods, and by defending America’s interests so that all of our citizens can prosper.
America First is about unity. It’s about coming together as one family — one big, beautiful American family — no matter our race, or color, or creed, to protect our jobs, our communities, and our country. We want all Americans to thrive and flourish together.
Our program is working far beyond our wildest expectations. We’ve created nearly 3 million jobs since the election. Think of that. Three million jobs. If I would have said that prior to the election, nobody would have believed it. (Applause.) Right? They would not have believed it.
Today we have more Hispanic Americans working than ever before in our history, setting records. New jobless claims have hit a 48-year low last week. (Applause.) And last year, the Hispanic unemployment rate reached the lowest level in history. Congratulations. (Applause.) And I’m proud to report Hispanic unemployment has now remained at or below 5 percent for the longest period of time ever recorded. You’re doing very well. (Applause.) That’s good.
Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high. Business confidence is through the roof, with a record number of small business owners saying that now is a good time to expand.
And, by the way, we’re going to keep your playing field level so that we don’t have outside interests coming in and hurting our country, which they’ve been doing. They’ve been doing a lot of that over the last 25 years. And we’re doing a lot of things to stop that. And you’re seeing that, actually, already, in the numbers. That’s why these numbers have been so good — or great, I might add.
Latino-owned businesses now make up more than 10 percent of all businesses in the United States, providing jobs for more than 2 million American workers. These businesses contributed nearly half a trillion dollars to our economy last year alone. Latinos are also starting new businesses at three times the national average. That’s pretty good. Three times.
The American economy is coming back bigger and better and stronger than ever before. And Latino businesses are helping to lead the way. You’re paving the path.
At the center of America’s resurgence are the massive tax cuts I just signed into law. Now, that is a lot of money in your pockets, no matter where you’re coming from. (Applause.) Business or personal, it’s a lot of money. It’s the biggest tax cut and reform in American history. We got no Democrat votes, by the way. Not one. Now they’re all saying, mmm, maybe we should have voted. You notice they’re having second thoughts? They’re saying, we think we made a big mistake. We didn’t get one vote. And at the heart of our plan itself is the tremendous relief for working families and small businesses.
A typical family of four earning $75,000 a year will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000 — that’s not crumbs — slashing their tax bill in half. We nearly doubled the standard deduction, meaning a married couple will not have to pay one dime of income tax on the first $24,000 that they earn.
We doubled the child tax credit because the most important investment we can make is in our children. That was a big thing.
When I signed the tax cuts just before Christmas, it was like jet fuel for the American economy. Within hours, companies began announcing thousands of new jobs and thousands of dollars each in bonuses to their workers. Over 4 million workers have already received tax cut bonuses, and the number continues to grow every single day.
As a result of our business tax cuts and reforms, the typical family will see their annual household income eventually rise by an average of $4,000 a year.
We have finally given American businesses a level playing field, and you’ll see more of this in the coming weeks. We’re bringing it back. Our jobs have been stolen from us. Our businesses have been taken. Our factories have been closed. It’s all coming back.
You saw, two weeks ago, Chrysler announced they’re leaving Mexico and they’re coming back into Michigan, and open up a big plant. (Applause.) We have many plants opening. Many, many plants are opening. They’re coming back. For a lot of reasons they’re coming back, but one of them is the tax cuts, another is the regulations. But now we’re able, again, to compete with anyone in the world.
Joining us today are two business leaders who are at the forefront of America’s economic revival. Jeanette Prenger is the president of Ecco Select, a technology staffing business in Kansas City, Missouri. Great place. (Applause.) A lot of people from Kansas City, I noticed. I’ve seen a lot of people from Kansas City. A lot of friends there.
Not only is her company’s tax bill going down, her sales are going way up as other businesses hire and just, really, are working very hard. She’s filling those jobs for those businesses. And they’re really creating something very special. In fact, Jeanette says her business is experiencing the best quarter in the company’s 22-year history. And that’s great news for everybody. (Applause.) Congratulations to Jeanette.
Where is Jeanette? Where is Jeanette? Hi, Jeanette. Pretty good, right? Big difference. Big difference. Yep. A lot of people are saying the same thing. Thank you very much, Jeanette.
Adam DeVone is also joining us. Adam is the founder of Benefits Exchange Alliance, an HR consulting firm headquartered in Orange County, California. As a result of tax reform, Adam was able to provide generous five-figure bonuses to every one of his employees. They very much appreciated it. He’s also hired six new workers, and he plans to hire as many as 15 more this year. Adam, wherever you are in this, really, beautiful room, packed with people — Adam, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, Adam. Great. Great job. A big difference, Adam. Like day and night?
MR. DEVONE: Day and night.
THE PRESIDENT: Ah, that’s great. Thank you, Adam.
And thank you both for investing in your workers and investing in your country. Thank you very much.
In addition to passing a historic tax cut, we’re also slashing job-killing regulations. And I have friends, great business people; many of them think that the regulation cutting is more important, frankly, than even these big tax cuts.
According to a survey by the National Small Business Association, the average small business spends $83,000 to comply with regulations in just their first year of existence.
Under the Trump administration, we are finally getting government off of your backs and out of your pocketbooks. That is why I’m proud to report we have cut more regulations than any administration in the history of our country, and we’ve only had 12, 13 months now to do it. So, in a short period of time, we’ve cut more regulations than any administration, whether it’s 4, or 8, or, in one case, 16 years. Nobody is even close.
And, Elaine, while I’m looking at you, maybe you could cut some more because — (laughter) — you know, it would take 17, 20, 21 years to get a roadway built. (Applause.) We want to bring those numbers down to two years, and even one year. And if it’s not done properly and environmentally good, we’re not going to approve it. But you’re not going to have to wait 20 years to find out whether or not it’s going to be approved. So I know, Elaine, you’re working on it.
In fact, I’ve just instructed my whole Cabinet — we’re going to go for that final 40 percent. And we need some regulation. But you had regulations on top of regulations. You had the same approval to get from four or five different agencies. And it was ridiculous. It was impossible to do business.
One of the reasons we’re doing so well now is because of the regulation cutting. So, Elaine, you’ll go and start cutting some more as soon as you get back to the office. Right? (Laughter and applause.) We want to get those roads down to one year instead of two.
And we will cut even more red tape if Congress acts on my infrastructure proposal. You know, we have an infrastructure proposal in front of Congress. The Democrats don’t want to approve it because they don’t want to give us a victory. They think we’ve had too many victories. We got a lot victories. We’ve had a lot.
And we’re trying to have a DACA victory for everybody, by the way. And the Democrats are nowhere to be found. They’re nowhere to be found. (Applause.) It’s really terrible. We’re ready. You know the expression, “Ready, willing, and able.” We’re ready, willing, and able. They are nowhere to be found.
But also, infrastructure. Also, the people in the administration. We have hundreds of people sitting out there, and they’re obstructionists. They don’t want to approve them. So then we get blamed for not having — they are — it is just a terrible thing. Elaine, we have so many people — is that correct? — so many people from other agencies. Your agency gets pretty good treatment, I think.
But I will say that many of the agencies just have so many people out there, including diplomats from, as an example, Germany. Major countries — we have diplomats, they wait in a line because the Democrats don’t want to approve them, because they want to obstruct. And that’s not good. It’s never been like this, ever. They’ve never held them this long. Republicans have never done this to this extent with the Democrats. And Schumer and the Democrats ought to get going because it’s the wrong thing for our country. It’s a very terrible thing.
I’ve asked Congress to pass a bill that generates $1.5 trillion on infrastructure and cuts the permitting process from 10 years down to 2 years, or even less. After years of rebuilding other countries — and we have built a lot of countries — it’s time to start building our country again. (Applause.)
But a wealthy nation must be a safe nation. Protecting the security of our country is my highest duty. It’s the most important thing I can do. That is why my administration is committed to securing our border, dismantling dangerous gangs, and stopping the flow of deadly drugs that are just pouring across. It’s never been a problem — like over the last three, four years.
And we’re doing a job, and I will say the Border Patrol and the ICE, and the all of the different people that are working so hard — law enforcement, generally — they’re working so hard on the drug problem. Never been a problem, but many countries are having this problem. But there’s never been anything like it in the history of this world, and it’s destroying people’s lives. So many. And we’re going to stop it. Every American child, regardless of where they live or what family they come from, should be able to grow up in a safe community.
My administration submitted a balanced and responsible immigration reform plan to Congress. Our plan fully secures the border; provides a permanent solution to DACA, which we’re really working on; and modernizes our immigration system by ending extended-family migration and the lottery system so we can eventually have a merit-based system where people can come in and work for your companies, work for you, and do a phenomenal job — a phenomenal job. People that love our country and that want to love our country and our people.
These reforms are supported by the vast majority of Latino voters. In fact, more than 8 in 10 Latino voters think immigration to our country should be based on skill, not just a relationship with people you don’t even know. This is the mainstream view of all Americans, including Latinos. Yet, the Senate Democrats filibustered our plan because they don’t care about the immigration system or reform, and they don’t want to solve the problem. They would rather use it to get elected. That’s not working so well.
But we remain committed to immigration reform that protects our country, strengthens our economy, and lifts our workers from poverty to prosperity.
We want every American to know the dignity of work, the pride of a paycheck, and the satisfaction of a job well done. Because when our people are free to live their lives and to follow their hearts, there is nothing — nothing at all — that we cannot achieve.
What we are witnessing now is the rebirth of the American Dream. Everybody in the world is talking about it. It looks a little nasty when you watch the news, or as I sometimes call it, the Fake News. (Laughter.) But everybody in the world is talking about what’s happening in the United States. It’s really incredible. Best numbers in so many different ways — companies, unemployment. So many records we’re setting. The whole world is talking about it. And each of you here today, along with millions of hardworking Latinos all across our nation, are making that dream into a reality. You’re really making America great again. A lot of the people in this room are making America great again. (Applause.)
You’re unleashing the American spirit. You’re bringing jobs to American communities. And you are fighting for the American way.
Because you know that America is a nation that thinks big, dreams even bigger, and always reaches for the stars. You’re reaching for the stars. I know so many of you. You’re reaching for the stars; you have been for a long time. And now you’re getting there.
Together, we will build great buildings, invent incredible new products, discover amazing new technologies, and blaze bold new trails in science and medicine and the arts. And we will do it all with American skill, American grit, and American pride.
This is our time. This is our moment. Go get DACA. Go push those Democrats. I’m telling you. So this is a moment for DACA, for all of us. But this is a very special moment. A lot of tremendous things can happen here. Right now, so many tremendous things can happen if people want them to happen. This is how we are taking care of our people, taking care of our country.
I just want to thank all of you for being here. Having known so many in the room and having respected all of you, I can say that I’m very proud of you. And I know you’re very proud of our country.
So thank you all very much. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
12:22 P.M. EST