Rockwell Collins Headquarters
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3:57 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Iowa!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It is wonderful to have you all out today. Thank you so much for the warm welcome. And to Governor Reynolds and Congressman Blum, and everyone gathered here, it is an honor to be at Rockwell Collins, who makes the technology available for our warfighters around the world. Give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.)
What a great company. What a great Iowa company. What a great story — 85 years and growing. And let me also thank — where did Phil go? Where’s Phil Jasper? He gonna — give Phil a round of applause, everybody. The boss gets a — (applause) — it’s a growing time in the life of the company. Phil, I thank you for the hospitality.
And let me just say to all of you, as I begin today, I bring greetings from a great champion of our national defense and our armed forces, and a great champion of pioneering businesses that partner with the American people for our national security. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
The President is in Brussels today meeting with our NATO Allies, but I know he’d want me to extend greetings and really thanks — thanks to all of you for the expertise, for the work ethic, for the creativity, for the ongoing energy that is Rockwell Collins, and what you contribute to our national life and what you contribute to the economy and the wellbeing of this great community and this great state.
It has been a momentous time, I can tell you. Since day one of this administration, President Trump has been working to keep the promises that he made to the people of Iowa and the people of this country. And, in fact, we’re just about a day away from an evening at the White House — Monday night, when the President kept another promise that he made to appoint judges who will faithfully interpret the Constitution of the United States as written, when he announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the newest nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States. (Applause.)
No, we look forward — we look forward to the American people and their elected representatives coming to know Judge Kavanaugh as he goes through the process of confirmation in the United States Senate. But I can assure all of you gathered here that are looking on, Judge Kavanaugh — I had the opportunity to spend time with him privately, as the President did, as well, before the decision. We spent time with this good man and his family. He is, as the President said, a man of “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment” to uphold the Constitution of the United States as written.
As his record of nearly 300 opinions over the last 12 years on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals demonstrates, Judge Kavanaugh is a leader among jurists in this country. In fact, 12 of his opinions, including some dissenting opinions, were adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States and are now a part of the law of the land.
I met yesterday with both of your senators — Senator Joni Ernst, who is worth a round of applause. She does an amazing job for Iowa — (applause) — and is a great veteran of our Armed Forces. And I also, actually, had dinner last night with Senator Chuck Grassley.
You know, I know a few years ago somebody said he was just a farmer, right? Well, I guarantee you the President and I know that Senator Chuck Grassley is a principled conservative. He is Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the United States Senate, and President Trump and I know that we can count on Chairman Grassley and Senator Ernst to move Judge Kavanaugh through the nomination process to confirmation on the Supreme Court of the United States. And we are truly grateful. (Applause.)
Let me also say thanks to your great Governor. I can say I was actually for Governor Reynolds before it was cool. (Laughter.) I knew her back when I was governor of the state of Indiana and she was lieutenant governor of the great state of Iowa. I know it’s been a little over a year since you took office, but to no one’s surprise, Governor Reynolds filled those big shoes that she stepped into with vigor. And she has carried this state forward: pro-job polices, pro-growth; 14,000 new jobs since you became governor. You’ve been putting Iowa first.
And I think being number one — the number-one state in America in U.S. News and World Report, and the number-one state for middle-class Americans to live in is something that deserves a big round of applause. Thank you, Governor. (Applause.) Stand up, Governor, will you? She’s just doing an amazing job. Thank you for being with us. And more importantly, thank you for your great leadership, for people of Iowa in the city and on the farm.
And speaking of strong leaders in our nation’s capital, I’m really delighted today to be here with your local congressman, Congressman Rod Blum. You know, a life-long Iowan, he’s really lived the American Dream. I mean, literally grew up in a home with a dirt floor, but he learned those strong Iowa values of hard work and faith and determination — carried him to his successful career in business. You all know the story here. But that principled leadership came to Capitol Hill. And I can tell you all that what we’ve been accomplishing would not have been possible but for the principled leadership of Congressman Rod Blum. And, Congressman, would you stand up and take a bow? He’s been an incredible partner for prosperity. (Applause.)
Supporting our national defense, supporting the tax relief — we’ll talk about it in just a moment — but there’s one other thing I particularly want to congratulate the Congressman on. Now, Congressman — Congressman Blum came to our administration in the early days after Inauguration and talked to us about the need to protect Cedar Rapids from another disaster like the “thousand-year” flood that hit this great city in June of 2008. We all remember it. We remember watching from afar, back in the Hoosier State.
But I want to tell you that, after 10 long years, because of Congressman Rod Blum, help is on the way. One week ago, our administration, at his urging, approved $117 million to help Cedar Rapids complete a permanent flood wall so the city of Five Seasons will be safe should the flood waters rise again. So thank you, Congressman Blum. (Applause.) Thank you for your great leadership.
And I promise you, if the President was here, he would say, “He is one tenacious guy.” (Laughter.) And we appreciate your advocacy for your constituents and for this great city.
And let me just also thank you just to Rockwell Collins. This is really an incredible company. I just — I just got a glimpse of some of the technology that you create here. It’s amazing to think, since 1933, that this company — the men and women who are here today and those that have gone before you — have developed the cutting-edge equipment that has maintained American leadership in the skies.
Fifty percent of this business, I’m informed, is focused on providing the Armed Forces of the United States with the tools they need to fight and win. And so on behalf of the American people, I say to Rockwell Collins: Job well done. (Applause.) Thank you for your service. I mean it.
In fact, when I was back looking at that new helmet with the heads-up display for the F-35, I asked two of the technicians if one of them had been in the service, and one of them was a submariner for 10 years. So would anyone in the room — I’d just love to know — would the men and women in the room who have worn the uniform of the United States of America, if you’re able, would you just stand and let us thank you one more time for your service to this country? (Applause.) Thank you.
Thank you for your service then, thank you for your service now. Because I know in your hearts, as I told that former submariner, I said, “You’re still in the service.” And I bet you all feel that way here at Rockwell Collins, don’t you? You come in every day and you’re part of — you’re part of providing for the national defense of the United States of America. Not that I’m surprised by that. I know the patriotism, I know the commitment to this nation of the people of Iowa. And so, I just — I want to acknowledge that and thank you for that.
And let me tell you, after years of budget cuts in our national defense, I couldn’t be more proud that just a few short months ago, with the strong support of Congressman Blum, this President signed the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.) It’s true.
We got a ways to go. $700 billion. It will be a little more in the next budget year. But we understand that after years of what you all understood to be sequestration and budget cuts, help is on the way. And we’re providing our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard with the resources and the support and the technology that they need to fight and win. I promise you, we’re going to get the job done. I truly am.
But let me also — let me also congratulate this company on a growing success story. And I know it’s — what’s happening to Rockwell Collins today and all the evolution here — more than 8,000 people working here — couldn’t be more exciting in a growing state.
And I got to tell you, I truly do believe — and Phil told me this walking down one of those really long hallways — (laughter) — I thought I was at the Pentagon, Phil. (Laughter.) I really did. But we were walking down one of those long hallways, and he just talked to me about how this company has been able to grow because of the leadership of President Trump and leaders like Congressman Blum and Governor Reynolds.
The truth of the matter is, from the first day of this administration, President Trump has been working to keep the promise to the American people, and I’m here to tell you, you look at what’s happening in this economy, you look at what’s happening in this company, and I’m telling you, Iowa is back. America is back. And we’re just getting started at getting this economy growing again. (Applause.)
And it’s not an accident. I mean, it’s no accident. President Trump, from the first time he was spending time here in Iowa forward, he was talking about just getting back to what we know works in America — which means rolling back federal red tape. This President has actually cut more federal red tape in our first year and a half than any President in American history.
We’ve unleashed American energy — the Keystone and Dakota pipelines. We rolled back the Clean Power Plan, increasing the cost of energy for American companies and manufacturing just like this one. And as the President did just right before Christmas, he signed into law the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. And Rockwell Collins and America are growing as a result. (Applause.)
I mean, we actually believe the typical family of four here in Iowa is going to save about $2,500 a year once all these tax cuts take effect. We eliminated the death tax for nearly every American farmer. And speaking of farmers, let just say, we’ve also — we’ve also been working on expanding access to American agricultural goods around the world. We’ve taken decisive action to lower trade barriers for American agricultural exports. We’ve forged new deals to expand American pork exports to Argentina, beef to Brazil. And for the first time in 13 years, American beef is going to China. And we’re going to continue to work hard to lower the trade barriers.
The President is over at a NATO Summit, but I guarantee you he’s talking about trade and he’s talking about American agriculture. The truth of the matter is, the President really does believe, and we all believe, that for too long America’s trading relationships with many of our leading trade partners have been too one-sided, with those countries having unbridled access to our marketplace and our consumers, with us facing tariffs and non-tariff barriers and subsidies that are a barrier to our goods. And it seems to be especially true with agricultural goods — whether it’s China or whether it’s the European Union. And I promise you, the President is going to continue to drive forward. He’s going to drive forward in a way that puts American farmers first.
I’m pleased to report to you we are making significant progress on reforming the North American Free Trade Agreement. And we’re going to make it into a deal that works for American farmers and American manufacturers in the long term. (Applause.)
But when it comes to agriculture, I just want to assure all of my friends here in Iowa and all across the region that, under President Trump’s leadership, we’re always going to stand with American farmers.
In fact, the President was in Brussels today, but he tweeted about it. And I talked to him on my way here. The President actually said today, and I quote, he said, “I’m always thinking about our farmers.” He said, “Soy beans fell 50 percent from 2012. Farmers have done poorly for 15 years. Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs have been destroying our business.” But then he made a promise: We will open things up better than ever before. We’re going to have a level playing field, he said, and our farmers will start winning again all across the world. And I promise you, it’s going to happen. (Applause.)
So it’s about regulation. It’s about cutting taxes on families. It’s about making sure that we’re supporting farmers, supporting businesses in the city and on the farm. But it’s also — it’s also about making sure companies like this can grow. And maybe the natural byproduct of electing a businessman to be President of the United States is, this President — and Congressman Blum remembers this — he worked every bit as hard to make sure we cut taxes on businesses as he did working to cut taxes on working families across Iowa and across this country.
I mean, the reality is — and I checked coming in the door — under the tax cuts that the President signed into law were — the United States had one of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world. Now, Rockwell Collins’s tax rate fell from nearly 30 percent to just over 18 percent, giving this company millions of dollars to invest in its workers, its business, and your future. That’s real results. (Applause.)
And I have to tell you, it’s exciting to see the way corporate America has been responding — 3.7 million new jobs created in the last year and half, including 15,100 right here in Iowa. And just in the wake of the President’s signature going on that tax cut bill, the last time I checked into it, more than 600 companies announced tax-cut bonuses for more than 6 million Americans, including nearly 20,000 workers across the Hawkeye State.
Well, men and women, we’ve got a record I’m proud of and I’m humbled to be a part of. But I’m here to tell you, we’re just getting started. And I want to promise you — those of you that labor each and every day here at Rockwell Collins and are such a vital part of our national defense — that we’re going to continue to make the investments necessary to keep America safe and secure, and to give all of those companies around this country that partner with us in that national security the resources to innovate and develop the new technologies.
And I also promise you this President is going to remain determined, whether it be tax reform or rolling back more federal red tape for American energy, or fair and reciprocal trade deals, we’re going to continue in that fight as well. Because I got to tell you, to serve alongside this President is the greatest honor of my life. But as he looks back at the record of the last 15 months — or year and a half — this President just — it’s what he just calls a good start. And I promise you that with your continued support, the best is yet to come, for Iowa and for America.
Let me close lastly on a personal note to Rockwell Collins. You know, I’m Vice President of the United States and I’ve been governor of the great state of Indiana. But the highest title that I hold is husband and father. And I cherish my family and I’m proud of each and every one of them. My wife, Karen, is a wonderful person. Our two daughters — one is a brilliant writer; one is a brilliant law student. Of which you may not have known with me walking through the doors, my son is a jet fighter pilot in the United States Marine Corps. (Applause.) Thank you. That’s for him. Thank you. Thank you for that. I couldn’t be more proud of him. I really couldn’t.
Michael has been in the Marine Corps for two years. He trained out in Pensacola. He’s training down in Mississippi. And I’m told — I’m told we’re going to be down at a Winging Ceremony in September down at Meridian Air Base. He’ll get to fly either the F-18s or those F-35s. And — but I have to tell you, when I look at the men and women in this room and I think of what you do each and every day, for the courageous men and women who answer the call of this country, as your Vice President, I’m inspired and I’m grateful. As a father, I’m even more grateful. Thanks for what you do here every day to give our warfighters what they need to accomplish their mission, protect our families, and come home safe to theirs.
So I want to say, from my heart, thank you. May God bless each one of you and the great work of Rockwell Collins, and may He continue to bless you as you work to keep this great nation safe and free.
And let me leave here with confidence that with your continued support and ingenuity, with continued support of great partners in Congress like Congressman Rod Blum, with great state partners like Governor Kim Reynolds, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God’s help, I know we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Keep up the great work, Rockwell Collins. It’s an honor to be with you all.
4:18 P.M. CDT