Remarks by the Vice President to the Seminar Network’s Policy and Political Strategy Planning Retreat
St. Regis New York
New York, New York
1:44 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Chase, for those kind words and bringing back some great Indiana memories. I appreciate it very much and appreciate your leadership and your friendship.
To Governor Walker, to Senator Cruz, to Senator Scott, Senator Perdue, to distinguished leaders of the business community, and honored guests, it is great to be back to this extraordinary group of American leaders for your 2017 New York retreat.
And before I get started, allow me to say the man that you heard from a little earlier over this lunch is a great friend of mine. He is as strong a conservative as you will find in America. And as a former governor myself, I believe he’s one of the best governors this country has ever had, the great governor of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker. Would you give him another big round of applause? (Applause.)
And to all of you: I bring greetings from another leader who I promise you is fighting every single day to unleash the boundless future for the American people, a future of opportunity and economic growth, the 45th President of the United States of America, I bring greetings from President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Let me just say whatever differences some in the room may have had in the campaign of 2016, the President sent me here today to say thank you for your strong support of our agenda this year in 2017 -- an agenda of less regulation, less taxes, and more opportunity and prosperity and freedom for every American. (Applause.)
President Trump is keeping his promises to the American people, and we are grateful for the support that all of you in this room are showing for those efforts.
But let me also thank every business leader in this room for what you do every day to renew the promise of America. For nearly 15 years, this group has brought together many of America’s greatest job creators and philanthropists, in pursuit of a noble purpose.
You’ve worked tirelessly to in your words “break down barriers to opportunity,” to advance a “free and open society.” You’ve devoted your time, your talent, and your treasure to help your fellow Americans “improve their lives, especially the least fortunate.”
You’ve invested in communities, catalyzed change, and transformed lives. You’ve expanded opportunities in education and defended academic freedom. You’ve mobilized a grassroots movement of millions of Americans to advance a pro-freedom agenda. And you’ve helped impact policy from statehouses across America and now in the halls of government in Washington, D.C. In short, your generosity has made a difference all across America. So give yourselves a round of applause because we're grateful for all you've done. (Applause.)
I’m here to tell you today that President Trump shares your commitment to that “brighter future” for every American. Since day one of our administration, the President has taken decisive action to restore freedom, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people.
President Trump has been upholding the principles of limited government first and foremost by appointing strict constructionists to our federal courts at every level -- men and women who will uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, like our newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Applause.)
And President Trump has been busy rolling back the heavy hand of government. This President has actually -- as I stand before you today, this President has signed more laws cutting through federal red tape than any President in American history. He’s directed every federal agency to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new rules and mandates on working families and job creators.
And our administration has already canceled and delayed nearly 1,000 planned regulations and kept new regulatory costs to zero. And next year, President Trump -- as he did so earlier last week -- has charged our Cabinet with achieving a net reduction in federal regulations next year for the first time in American history. (Applause.)
Under President Donald Trump, the era of over-regulation is over. And our administration has been busy unleashing American energy like never before. In one of his very first acts in office, President Trump approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines. Just this week, we’ve confirmed our efforts to repeal the so-called Clean Power Plan. And President Trump put America first when he announced that the United States would withdraw from the job-killing Paris climate accord. (Applause.)
And under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over.
The truth is that President Trump has kept his promise to get the American economy moving again, and the results are undeniable. Optimism is sweeping America -- for consumers and job creators alike. Businesses large and small, like those represented here today, have created more 1 million new jobs since January 20th. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. The stock market is smashing records left and right -- creating nearly $5 trillion in new wealth in less than a year.
And after eight years of less than 2 percent economic growth, the American economy is growing at more than 3 percent. Confidence is back. Growth is back. Under President Donald Trump, in a word, America is back -- and we're just getting started. (Applause.)
And the President is achieving real results on the international stage, as well. While some critics engage in empty rhetoric and baseless attacks, thanks to the President’s leadership, ISIS is on the run, North Korea is isolated as never before, and our NATO allies are doing more to pay their fair share for our common defense.
Just this week, Pakistan took an important step to answer the President’s call to do more in fight terrorism, as they helped secure the release of an American family that had been held hostage for more than five years.
And earlier today, in recognition of the increasing threat posed by the Iranian dictatorship, President Trump announced a new strategy, “to address the full range of Iran’s destructive actions.”
Men and women, that’s what American leadership on the world stage looks like. And no amount of criticism back home can diminish those results. America stands once again, under President Donald Trump, without apology, as the leader of the free world. (Applause.)
But as the President often says in the Oval Office, that’s just what we call a good start at this White House. And the truth is we have a lot more work to do.
And before this session of Congress ends in 2018, I promise you, we're going to work with every one of you in this room, and we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
As the President has said, we were disappointed that every single Democrat and a few Republicans weren’t ready to repeal and replace Obamacare at the end of last month.
But while Congress wasn’t ready to act, President Trump is fully committed to give the American people the relief they need. And as he said today, we’ll do it, in his words, “step by step by step.”
Yesterday, our President signed an executive order that will expand access to association health plans that will give employed Americans more access to lower-priced, high-quality healthcare.
And today, our administration will bring an end to Obamacare’s unauthorized bailout of health-insurance companies, by ending the cost-sharing subsidies that were never appropriated by Congress to begin with. (Applause.)
And I'll make you a promise: President Trump and I will not rest, we will not relent until we end the Obamacare nightmare once and for all, and we give the American people 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.
But, you know, I mostly came here to today to assure you, that before this year is out, with your help in this room, we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. (Applause.)
President Trump talked about our tax-cut plan just a few days ago, in Pennsylvania. As he said, we’re calling our plan “the American model” -- it’s pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, and pro-family.
As I’ve traveled across America this year, I’ve heard firsthand from working families and job creators large and small about the problems they face with our country’s tax code.
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.
I mean the truth is, today taxpayers spend about 6 billion hours every year dealing with their taxes. About 94 percent of Americans, and more than 90 percent of small businesses have to pay somebody to figure out what they owe the government.
And all told, complying with our tax code costs our economy $262 billion every single year -- or more than $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And that's just not right.
But it’s not just working families, our tax code also stifles American job creators. China, Japan, Germany, Canada, Mexico, virtually every other major developed country has a lower business tax rate than the United States. And we’re one of the only countries in the world that taxes every dollar our companies earn overseas.
The truth is that our high taxes and complicated code make it harder for companies to hire, raise wages, invest in their employees’ success. Our code kills jobs and causes American companies to close factories here and build them overseas.
And ultimately, our broken tax code weakens America itself -- sapping our spirit of entrepreneurship, culture of innovation, and even our belief in a brighter, more prosperous future for our kids and our grandkids.
But as I’ve said to working families and job creators all across America, I'll say to you today, those days are over. Help is on the way. (Applause.)
We’re going to put more money in working Americans’ pockets. We’re put job creators back on path to success. And President Donald Trump is going to sign a historic tax cut that'll once again put America first.
As the President said this week, our plan is based on four principles that every American should be able to get behind.
First and foremost: We’re going to give working families a historic tax cut. As the President said this week, our tax-cut plan will give the typical American household an extra $4,000 a year.
We’re going to make sure that working families pay no federal taxes on their first $24,000 in income by doubling the standard exemption for families. (Applause.)
We’re going to end the alternative minimum tax. And President Donald Trump is going to end the death taxes once and for all -- death will no longer be a taxable event in America. (Applause.)
Our second principle is to make the tax code simple again. We're going to simplify the tax code from seven brackets down to three. We’ll make sure that more than 90 percent of Americans can actually file their taxes by themselves on a single sheet of paper.
And as the President said this week, we’re going to “end the special deals for special interests.” We're going to eliminate the hand-outs, the carve-outs, the loopholes that benefit the wealthy and the well-connected, and we’re going to un-rig the economy so it works for every American -- and not just for those who can afford to hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers.
Our third principle: This businessman-turned-President is going to make American business competitive again. We're going to cut one of the highest business tax rates in the world from 35 percent to 20 percent -- and not a penny more. (Applause.)
We’re going to make sure that small businesses also get the same relief as big corporations by cutting the pass-through rate to 25 percent -- which will be the lowest tax rate on small businesses in America since 1931. (Applause.)
And finally, we’re going to cut taxes on the trillions of dollars that American companies have locked overseas, so the companies can invest those dollars in American workers, American jobs, and America’s future.
The truth is cutting taxes is the single-most important policy for the future of America. It’s a time-honored truth: When we cut taxes, we launch a new era of soaring incomes, more jobs, and a thriving middle class. And the bigger the cut, the bigger the growth.
John F. Kennedy proved it. Ronald Reagan proved it. And President Donald Trump will prove it again.
In fact, President Trump firmly believes that our tax-cut plan can create sustained economic growth of more than 3 percent -- or even higher.
Think about what that might mean. With just a 3 percent growth rate over the next 10 years, we’ll create more than 12 million new jobs and generate nearly $10 trillion in new economic activity. More importantly, the average income for Americans will rise by nearly $7,000.
And really that’s what this is all about. A tax cut will mean more jobs. A tax cut will mean higher wages. And a tax cut will mean an economy where anything is possible, where anyone can improve their lives and achieve the American Dream.
As President Trump has said, in his words, “this is the right tax cut, and this is the right time.” But we need all your help to get it passed.
I want to thank this network for everything you’ve already done to support this plan. Through Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity, and the rest of this network, you’ve already organized more than 70 grassroots events in key states around the country.
As we speak, I’m told that you’re on the airwaves across this country, urging lawmakers and business leaders to get behind the President’s tax-cut plan. And on behalf of President Trump and every American who longs for more jobs and more money in their pockets, we’re grateful for all of your support.
But I’m here today, on behalf of our President, to encourage you to do even more. To get this tax cut across the line, to give the American people the tax relief that they need, we need every ounce of your energy and enthusiasm because this is the moment. Now is the time.
We need you to reach out, use your voice. Use the stature that you enjoy in your communities and your state and all across this country to share the opportunity that we have with this tax relief legislation. You talk to your employees, talk to your suppliers, your fellow business leaders to get them on board. And of course, we need you to talk to your elected officials about just how important this moment is in the life of this nation. Tell everyone you can that America needs this tax cut, and America needs it now.
I truly believe the future of this Congress depends on them working with our President to pass the tax cut this year. And honestly, our entire agenda depends on this Congress stepping forward and delivering on their promise to the American people.
But with your support, with the help of the Congress, including leaders who you've heard from at this conference this week, and with the leadership of President Donald Trump, I’m confident we're going to pass the largest tax cut in American history, and we're going to pass it this year. (Applause.)
As you all know, tax cuts are the key to making the strongest economy in the world even stronger. But as I close, let me just encourage all of you to never lose sight of what tax cuts will also mean for our fellow citizens, our communities, and the future of the American spirit itself.
I don't have to tell any of you it’s been a challenging few months for people across our country. The American people have watched with heartbreak as hurricanes have battered the good people of Texas, of Florida, of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. As we stand here today, wildfires are raging across Northern California, destroying property and claiming lives.
The President and I have traveled to visit our fellow Americans in their hour of need. Everywhere we go, we tell them that we're with them today, we'll be with them tomorrow, and we will be with them every day as they go forward to restore and recover and rebuild.
And all of our country will be there, too. Americans are the most generous, and charitable people on Earth. And there are sterling examples of that charitable spirit gathered in this room today. The truth is, as Americans we look out for each other in good times and in bad. When a neighbor or a friend falls on hard times, we’re there to help them get back on their feet.
As the President often says, here in America, when one of us hurts, we all hurt. When of one of us is in need, we all feel that need, and we all come alongside to help.
But the truth is, in addition to generosity and addition to keeping all the public promises that we've made to people in difficult times -- that you all in this room know -- that the surest long-term path to the greatest recovery for all the areas of our country affected by these hard times is a growing economy.
That’s why President Trump and I are going to keep fighting every single day to unleash a new era of growth, jobs, of opportunity, and prosperity, so we can meet our obligations today and meet our aspirations tomorrow. And so that when we, as a nation, look back at these challenging times -- the storms, the fires, or whatever else we must face, that we will remember not what we lost in the midst of great crisis, but we will remember what we built in its wake together.
And this I know we'll do, because I have confidence and I have faith. I faith in the boundless capacity of the American people. Faith in all of you and the entrepreneurial genius of America to build that unimaginable future for this generation and the next. Faith in the leaders who represent our country at every level. And I have that other kind of faith.
And I know, with your support, with the leadership of our President, strong leadership in the Congress and at every level, and with God’s help, we will make America prosperous again. We get America growing again. And, to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to address you today. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
2:04 P.M. EDT