Remarks by the Vice President on Healthcare and Tax Reform
Flagship Enterprise Center
4:04 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, Indiana! (Applause.)
It is great to be back home again, and I'm so grateful -- So grateful to see so many friends and neighbors come out on a Friday afternoon. And I just hung up the phone from the man Indiana voted overwhelmingly to make the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
And he asked me to say hello and thank you for your stalwart support
You know, it’s been an extraordinary week for our President -- and for America, hasn't it? I spent most of the week with our President in New York City at the United Nations General Assembly. And one thing was clear -- President Donald Trump stands without apology as the leader of the free world, and he will always put America First. (Applause.)
And I'm pleased to announce that the President is actually coming to Indiana. He'll be in Indianapolis next Wednesday, and you will see his strong leadership up close and personal, right here in the Hoosier State. (Applause.)
You’ll also hear our President’s plan to get this economy moving again, and that’s what I’m here to talk about today myself.
But before I get started, let me recognize a few Hoosiers who are here with us today, people that've I've come to know for many years, and I'm honored by their presence. First off, would you join me one more time in thanking the 51st governor of the state of Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb? Thank you for that warm welcome and thank you for the amazing job you've doing for the people of Indiana. (Applause.)
I'm also honored to be joined by Senator Joe Donnelly. Senator, thank you joining us today. (Applause.) We're honored by your presence. Thank you, Joe.
And it gives a special warm feeling to greet members of Congress who I've served with the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Congressman Todd Rokita, and Congressman Luke Messer are here. Thank you so much for your service to Indiana and your strong conservative support. (Applause.)
And it is great be back in Madison County, Indiana. (Applause.)
I heard John Pistole say that it's been 65 years since a President or a Vice President has come to Anderson, Indiana. And I just can’t tell you how deeply moving and how humbling it is for me to be here in this capacity among so many people who have made it possible for my little family to serve. So thank you for the honor of being with you as Vice President today. (Applause.)
And it’s great being here at the Flagship Enterprise Center. As you just heard from my friend Chuck Staley, I have a long history with this center. It’s remarkable to see how much growth and the difference that it makes in the life of this city. Why don't we give Chuck Staley and the whole Flagship Enterprise Center team a round of applause? (Applause.) Thanks, Chuck.
As this Center shows every day, business is booming right here at the crossroads of America and here in Madison County, Indiana. People are creating jobs and prosperity for the people of this city and the people of this state.
And rest assured, since day one of our administration, President Donald Trump has been working tirelessly to get our economy moving again, and the results speak for themselves.
This President has already signed more laws to cut through federal red tape than any President in American history. (Applause.) Early on in our administration President Trump ordered every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new federal red tape on businesses large and small in America. (Applause.)
to fuel a great revival of American industry, President Trump has been unleashing American energy. We've approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, we've rolled back the so-called Clean Power Plan, and under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over. (Applause.)
know in a word under President Donald Trump, America is back. Optimism is sweeping across the country for working families and job creators, especially manufacturers -- so important to the history and tradition here in Indiana. Right now, in the course of this year, businesses large and small have created more than 1.2 million new jobs in 2017. And more Americans are working today than ever before in our nation's history. (Applause.) True.
And just a few weeks ago, we learned that the economy is growing faster than it has in years. You know, under the last administration, our economy grew at an average of only 1.8 percent, but under President Donald Trump, we're already up to 3 percent, and we’re only getting started. (Applause.) Think about it.
If we can keep up the momentum going, the growth is going to be remarkable. With a 3 percent growth rate sustained over time, we’ll create more than 12 million new jobs and nearly $10 trillion in economic activity over the next decade. And more importantly the average income for American families will rise by nearly $7,000, according to the experts.
President Trump is keeping his promise to make America prosperous again. But our President also knows that security is the foundation of our prosperity. And serving with him every day, I know President Donald Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people.
And I got to tell you, and many of you have known my family for a long time, as the proud father of a United States Marine, by the name of Michael J. Pence, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as Vice President to a President who cares so deeply about the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States and our veterans. (Applause.)
I got to tell you, and I said this at the Naval Academy earlier this year, President Donald Trump is going to be the friend the Armed Forces of the United States will ever have. This President has already signed the biggest increase in defense spending in nearly 10 years. And we’re working with the Congress right now to pass the largest investment in national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
Under President Trump, I'll make you a promise: We're going to work with these leaders in Congress in both political parties. And we're going to rebuild our military, we're going to restore the arsenal of democracy, and we are once again going to give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and the training they need to accomplish their mission and come home safe. That's our pledge to all of you and to them. (Applause.)
So it’s prosperity, it’s security, it's strengthening America at home and abroad. That's just what President Trump just likes to call a god start. He sent me here today to deliver a message to you and to deliver a message to Congress that we need to do even more to get this economy moving again.
And that all begins when Congress will at last vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Applause.)
The truth is, every day Obamacare survives is another day that America struggles. We all remember all the broken promises that got Obamacare passed into law, don't we? They said if you like your doctor you could keep it -- that wasn't true. They said if you like your health insurance plan you could keep it-- not true. We were told that health insurance costs would go down if Obamacare passed -- that one turned out to be false as well.
Now we know the facts. Here in Indiana, Obamacare has increased premiums on the individual market by nearly 75 percent, since Obamacare became law.
President Obama actually promised that we'd save up to $2,500 on premiums every year. But across America, the average annual premium costs nearly $3,000 more today than it did in 2013.
And while costs are skyrocketing, choices are plummeting. Next year, nearly half of the counties in America, and nearly 70 percent of Indiana counties, will have only one choice of health-insurance providers, meaning they’ll essentially have no choice at all.
In fact, even our own hometown insurance company, Anthem, has pulled out of the Obamacare exchange here in Indiana. Hoosiers knows the truth -- Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go. (Applause.)
The good news is the Senate is close to moving forward with legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, as we speak. The bill was drafted by a few friends of mine, Senator Lindsey Graham, senator of South Carolina, and Senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana. And President Trump and I firmly believe the Graham-Cassidy bill is the right bill at the right time to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Graham-Cassidy rolls back the individual and employer mandates, so Hoosiers are no longer forced to buy health insurance or pay a fine to the government. (Applause.)
Graham-Cassidy contains the largest ever expansion of health savings accounts so Americans can buy the coverage they need at a price they can afford.
It allows families to keep their kids on their plan until they turn 26, and Graham-Cassidy ensures that people with preexisting conditions have access to the coverage and the care they need -- no exceptions.
And finally, Graham-Cassidy will give states like Indiana unprecedented freedom and flexibility to craft our own solutions for health insurance and to reform Medicaid for the most vulnerable, to bring better coverage, better care, and better outcomes for the people of this state and every state in America.
In fact, when Graham-Cassidy becomes law, Governor Holcomb will be able to finish what we started with the Healthy Indiana Plan. (Applause.)
You all know the story here at home. Two years ago, Indiana adopted the most significant reform to traditional Medicaid in 50 years. Not with mandates and more taxes, but with personal responsibility and innovative care for our most vulnerable.
And thanks to Governor Holcomb’s continued leadership, today the Healthy Indiana Plan covers more than 400,000 Hoosiers with Medicaid coverage that gives them greater ownership over their own healthcare choices -- in many cases, for the first time ever.
We see some of our most vulnerable Hoosiers able to choose their own doctor, move their care from emergency rooms to primary care, and be rewarded for improving their lives through wellness choices.
The Healthy Indiana Plan is kind of the gold standard for Medicaid reform in the country. It's improving the health of nearly half a million Hoosiers as we speak. And I believe every Hoosier should be proud that on healthcare reform, the Healthy Indiana Plan is leading the way in America. (Applause.)
And the great news is, Graham-Cassidy will actually give Indiana and every state more freedom and flexibility than we had when we crafted our reforms to enact more common-sense measures, to provide more affordable coverage and build the best possible health-insurance system not just with Medicaid but for every Hoosier who buys health insurance on the private market as well.
And I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to all of you who've supported the efforts to start over on healthcare reform in America. And I want to thank Governor Holcomb, who just joined 14 governors across America to say that we need Graham-Cassidy and we need it now. Thank you, Governor. (Applause.)
Now I got to tell you, the vote could come as early as next week, and this is not going to be easy. Even now, the opposition is forming up and some have gone so far as to announce their opposition already.
But President Trump and I are undeterred. We cannot in good conscience abandon this cause. The American people are hurting. As President Trump has made clear, “Inaction is not an option."
Let me be clear, a vote against Graham-Cassidy is a vote to save Obamacare.
Republican majority in Congress, in particular, was not elected to save Obamacare. They were elected to repeal and replace it and -- (applause) -- it’s time for every member of the Republican majority to keep their word to the American people.
But we're asking the -- all the members of that majority and we're asking all the members of the United States Senate, give Graham-Cassidy a fair look. Vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, and give our country a healthcare system based on personal responsibility, free-market competition, and state-based reform. That’s the American way to give the American people access to world-class health care in the 21st century. (Applause.)
And once we repeal and replace Obamacare, with the strong leadership of President Trump, and working with the great Indiana leaders that are gathered here, we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. (Applause.)
Now just last month, our President laid out his vision for the largest tax cut in American history. He called it the “American model” that would be pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-workers. And it is.
Just a few hours ago, I was at the Pittt Barbecue and Grill -- what a place. (laughter) I met a few families there from across this area who told me firsthand about the problems that they face with the complexity of taxes, and the burden and the benefit of real tax reform.
The Watson family, who own Pittt Barbecue, told me they could grow their restaurant and maybe open up a new location out on 109 and hire a few more folks if we would cut the taxes on their business. (Applause.)
For the McCurry family, with four beautiful daughters, and the Frazier family, with their three great kids, they were telling me they're just thinking about college education. They just want to be able to put more dollars away.
From each and every one of them, I heard them say they just simply want to be understand their taxes, make them simpler, and allow them to pay less to the federal government in taxes. (Applause.) There it is.
The truth is that right now our country’s tax code is fundamentally broken.
You know, there’s an old joke that says the tax code is 10 times the length of the Bible with none of the good news. (Laughter.) No truer words. Think about it.
Today, taxpayers spend over 6 billion hours every year dealing with their taxes. About 94 percent of Americans, and more than 90 percent of small businesses pay somebody to do their taxes for them.
All told, complying with the tax code in America costs our economy $262 billion every single year, or nearly $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country.
But it’s not just working families, our tax code also stifles American job creators. All across Indiana and all across this country.
China, Japan, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and every major developed country has a lower business tax rate than the United States of America, and we’re one of the only countries in the world that taxes every dollar our companies earn overseas.
I mean, American businesses are falling behind because their competitors, and our tax code is in part to blame.
It makes it harder for companies to hire here in America, to give raises, to invest in our communities. It kills jobs and causes American companies to close factories here and build them overseas.
Our tax code has given foreign companies an enormous competitive edge over American businesses, and those days are over. (Applause.)
Under the President Trump's leadership, we’re going to put more money in the American people’s pockets. We’re going to put our job creators back on the road to success. And President Trump is going to sign, before the end of this year, a tax cut that will put American workers and the American economy first. (Applause.)
Here's what we're going to do. We’ll simplify the tax code so that working Americans can file their own taxes on one sheet of paper. (Applause.)
We’re going to cut tax rates on working families so they can keep more of their hard-earned paychecks and get ready to pay for all those kids' education. (Applause.)
And we’re cut out the hand-outs, the carve-outs, and the loopholes that benefit the wealthy and the well-connected, and we're going make the tax code flatter and fairer for every American. (Applause.)
And when it comes to businesses, President Trump is going to make sure that we cut the business tax rate in America so American companies can create good-paying jobs right here in America. (Applause.)
President Trump is going to empower American companies and American workers to compete on a level playing field with anyone, anywhere in the world. And as Indiana knows, as America knows, when the field is level, American workers win every time. (Applause.)
Back when I was governor, it was my privilege to work with the general assembly to pass what turned out to be the largest state tax cut in Indiana history -- and it worked to help prosper Indian. And I promise you, President Trump’s tax-cut is going be even bigger and better than ever before. And everyone here is going to benefit from it and growing economy.
Indiana knows the truth: Tax cuts mean more jobs, tax cuts means higher wages for our families, tax cuts will create an economy where anything is possible, where anyone can achieve the American Dream.
Now folks, this is a big task. It’s going to take all of us to get the job done. President Trump and I are counting on Indiana’s support. I know we’ll have the support of everyone here. And I know we're going to have the votes of Congresswoman Brooks, Congressman Rokita, Congressman Messer, and Senator Young, and all of Indiana’s great Republicans in Washington, D.C.
But President Trump has called on all members of Congress in good faith to “put the partisan posturing behind us, and come together as Americans to create a 21st century tax code our people deserve.”
And so I’m here in Indiana today, on the President’s behalf to say to all of you, we need your help. And, Senator Donnelly, we need your help, too. (Applause.)
Indiana needs this tax cut. Hardworking Hoosiers need this tax cut. So, Joe, let’s decide today -- we’re going get this tax cut done and we’re going get it done together. (Applause.)
My fellow Hoosiers, it's great to be home. It's an important time in the life of our nation. I truly believe we’ve come to a pivotal moment in the life of this country. And in this moment, President Trump and I are counting on the good people of Indiana.
So I say to each and every one of you, I'm grateful that you're here today but with the challenges that we face at home and abroad, now more than ever is the time to let your voice be heard. Let the people who serve us hear from you on these important and pressing issues of national security, healthcare, economic growth, and tax cuts. Tell them you know Indiana and America can be stronger and safer and more prosperous for this generation and the next.
The President and I need every ounce of your energy, your enthusiasm, your conviction, your commitment, your voice and your values. And among so many of my friends here, I'll say with some confidence, we need to rely on one more thing.
In these too-divided times in this country, if you’re of a mind as well I'd encourage you -- to avail yourself of that source of strength to which Americans have repaired throughout our history -- bow the head, bend the knee. It’s a good time to pray for America.
And when you pray, pray with confidence because I truly believe those words recorded millennia ago are just as true today as they ever were: That if His people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He’ll hear from heaven, and He’ll heal this land –- this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Applause.)
And if you all do all that, I know with the continued support of the good people of Indiana, with the leadership of President Trump and our leaderships in the Congress of the United States and here in the great state of Indiana, and with God’s help, we will make America safe again, we will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase, we will Make America Great Again. (Applause.)
Thank you, God bless you, God bless Indiana, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 4:30 P.M. EDT