Remarks by Vice President Pence at Tax Cuts to Put America First Event
Council Bluffs, Iowa
4:51 P.M. CST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Iowa. (Applause.) And from the other side of the Missouri — hello, Nebraska. (Applause.)
Governor, thank you so much for those great words and your great leadership here in Iowa. It is great to be back in Council Bluffs. I spoke here at the Mid-America Center in August of 2016, and it feels so great to be back with the men and women who elected the 45th President of the United States of America. A great friend of Iowa, a great friend of Nebraska — I bring greetings from President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
And I’m here today because we want to talk about the progress that we’ve made together, where we put America first, and where this President, with the strong leadership and support in the Congress, has passed tax cuts that are putting American works and — American workers and American companies first, once again. (Applause.)
You know, I’m here because I stand with our President. I’m here because we stand with all the great conservatives across Iowa and Nebraska. And, come to think of it, we always stand for our flag and our national anthem, as well. (Applause.)
So let me say thanks again. Thanks to all of you for being here. And especially, thank you to Governor Kim Reynolds, not only for that introduction. It’s been nearly a year since you took office, and your strong leadership is making a remarkable difference here in the Hawkeye State. Would you all mind giving a big round of applause to the 43rd governor of the great state of Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds. (Applause.)
And while he’s not here today — he’s in federal service on the other side of the world — I want to thank the people for letting us steal the longest-serving governor in American history, and now the Ambassador for the United States of America to China. Let’s hear it for Ambassador Terry Branstad, who is standing strong for America. (Applause.)
Finally, I want to thank our host today. I know you’ve enjoyed the discussion that’s taken place. It’s an organization that is really working tirelessly to promote the policies that are making a difference in the lives of hardworking Iowans and Nebraskans, and the life of our nation. Let’s hear it for America First Policies that brought us all together today. (Applause.)
You know, it is a special honor to be back in Iowa. You know, if President Trump were here with us today, I have a feeling he’d tell you exactly what he said the last time he was here: that Iowa is, in his words, “incredible, beautiful,” and “a great state,” and he’d say Nebraska is a “great place,” too. (Applause.) That’s just how he put it.
But I’m really here today on the President’s behalf. I saw him this morning and he said, “Give them all my best.” I’m here to say thank you — thank you to Iowa and Nebraska for everything that you’ve done to stand with our administration. Because of your support, your hard work in 2016 and in every day since, in the last year, it’s been a year of action; it’s been a year of results; it’s been a year of promises made and promises kept. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it. President Trump promised to rebuild our military, restore the arsenal of democracy, and, in just a few short weeks, thanks to the strong partnership of Iowa and Nebraska’s leaders in the Congress, this President will sign the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
President Trump also promised to stand with America’s law enforcement. And I’m proud, as we see so many great men and women wearing the uniform of law enforcement with us here today, that, under President Trump, we are once again giving the men and women who serve on the Thin Blue Line the resources and the respect that they deserve. Would you show these police officers just how much we appreciate the job they do for us every day? (Applause.) Thanks all.
And President Trump promised to enforce our laws and secure our borders. And, today, I’m proud to report illegal crossings at our southern border are down by nearly 50 percent. (Applause.) And make no mistake about it, we’re going to build that wall. (Applause.)
Now, beyond our borders, the President promised to restore American leadership, as well. And under President Donald Trump, America once again stands without apology as leader of the free world.
We’ve taken the fight to the terrorists, on our terms, on their soil. And thanks to the courage of our armed forces and this Commander-in-Chief, ISIS is on the run, their caliphate has crumbled, and we will not relent until we destroy ISIS at its source so it can no longer threaten our families, our country, or our way of life. (Applause.)
We’ve put the leading state sponsor of terror on notice, and we’ll no longer tolerate Iran’s destabilizing activities. And under this President, the United States of America has announced we will no longer certify the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. (Applause.)
And in the wake of provocations and threats against the United States and our allies, President Trump made it clear from early on, when it comes to North Korea, that the era of strategic patience is over, that all options are on the table, and that we will continue to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear until the regime in Pyongyang abandons their nuclear ambitions.
And I know you all have seen the news. Reports are out today that suggest that North Korea might be willing to talk about denuclearization. And the President said today, it’s possible that we’ve made progress. But let the world know this: as the President also said, “The U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction.” (Applause.)
And whichever direction talks with North Korea go, the United States and our allies, I can assure you, will continue to apply maximum pressure to the Kim regime until we see North Korea take credible and concrete steps towards denuclearization. We will remain firm in our resolve, and we will continue to stand strong until North Korea abandons their nuclear program once and for all. (Applause.)
So it’s been strong leadership on the world stage. And here at home, we’ve taken decisive action as well. First and foremost, this President has taken a strong stand for the Rule of Law and to rev the engine of the American economy. We promised to appoint strong conservatives to our federal courts at every level. And just in the last year, President Trump appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and set a record for the most court of appeals judges appointed in single year in American history — conservatives all. (Applause.)
We promised to unleash American energy — the energy that powers our manufacturers, our farms, our families. And this President, early in this administration, approved the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines. We’ve rolled back the Clean Power Plan. And President Donald Trump put America first when he withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord. (Applause.)
And we promised to roll back the heavy hand of government, and we’ve been busy doing that as well. With the strong support of Iowa and Nebraska’s conservative leaders in Congress, we’ve been rolling back red tape, like the day that President Trump eliminated the Waters of the United States rule. And so far, we’ve repealed 22 federal regulations for every new federal rule put on the books. (Applause.)
And this President promised to fight for the men and women who run our factories, build our cars, raise our crops and livestock, and make the nation proud with every product that bears those four beautiful words, “Made in the USA.” (Applause.)
And under President Trump’s leadership, we’re cracking down on unfair trade practices, and fighting for trade deals that are fair, reciprocal, and trade that puts American jobs and American workers first.
Now, the President said earlier today, the United States has been taken advantage of for too long, by too many countries, when it comes to trade. So let me promise you: Whether it be in renegotiating NAFTA, or protecting our steel and aluminum industries, President Trump is always going to put American workers, American companies, and American farmers first. (Applause.)
So it’s been promises made and promises kept. But we’re here today to talk particularly about one of those really big promises. President Trump promised, over the course of the campaign, that we’d cut taxes across the board for working families and job creators large and small. And just over two months ago, President Donald Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history, and our economy has taken off every day since. (Applause.)
You know, we’re only one year into this administration, and already the results are nothing short of remarkable. Since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small across America have created 2.5 million new jobs. Jobless claims haven’t been this low in nearly 50 years. Unemployment hasn’t been this low for 17 years. And Iowa and Nebraska are tied for the fourth lowest unemployment in America. (Applause.) That’s real results.
And let me give another shout-out to our host today. Thanks to all that we’ve done together, and the great leadership of Governor Reynolds, Iowa was just named as the best state in America for middle-class families. And just last week, the Governor mentioned to me that Iowa ranked as the best state in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Congratulations, Governor, and to all the people of Iowa. (Applause.)
The truth is, Iowa and Nebraska and all of America are doing better. After eight years of a stagnant economy and wages that wouldn’t budge, I’m proud to report that, today, Americans are seeing their paychecks rise faster than at any point in nearly 10 years. The truth is, growth is back, confidence is back, and, thanks to President Donald Trump, America is back. (Applause.)
But, you know, as the President likes to say, at this White House, that’s just what we call a good start. (Laughter.) The truth is, the best days for American growth and prosperity are yet to come because our tax cuts are just starting to make a difference. I mean, think about it. I mean, we cut taxes for working families so you can keep more of your hard-earned money. We cut taxes for American businesses and their employees so Iowa farmers and manufacturers can compete and win anywhere in the world.
And there’s one more thing. Not only did we cut taxes on individuals and businesses in both of the great states represented here, but we finally gave the American people the relief that they longed for when we repealed the individual mandate at the heart of Obamacare. It’s gone and off the books. (Applause.)
And these tax cuts you’ve been hearing about today — all told, about 90 percent of working families are going to see a tax cut reflected in their paycheck before this year is out.
Right here in Council Bluffs, your Congressman, David Young, was telling me about a friend of his named Joe, who’s already getting more than $100 extra every single month — money he’s using to pay off his car a little bit early. And Joe is not alone. Our tax cuts are actually to save the typical family of four nearly $2,500 a year, here in Iowa. And in Nebraska, the typical family of four is going to save nearly $2,300 a year.
But, you know, it’s not just about lower taxes for working families. It’s about the bigger paychecks that come from businesses investing those tax savings in American jobs and American workers.
Our tax cuts for businesses have given unprecedented opportunities to our employers to reward employees. In fact, we believe workers in Iowa and Nebraska can expect to see pay raises of more than $4,100 a year in the years ahead, and we’re already on the way. (Applause.)
I mean, the truth is, company after company on both sides of the Missouri have already announced plans to pay workers more, to hand out bonuses, to hire more people and open new locations. It’s an incredibly exciting time.
In fact, since President Trump signed these tax cuts into law, over 400 companies across the country have announced more than $480 billion in new investments. And as I stand before you today, 4.3 million Americans across the country have already gotten a raise or a bonus thanks to the Trump tax cuts. (Applause.) That’s real results.
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard that some on the other side of the aisle have a different view of tax cut bonuses. I actually heard that Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the Congress, actually described $1,000 in the pockets of millions of Americans as “crumbs.”
Now, let me remind you all, I come from the Joseph A. Bank wing of the West Wing. (Laughter.) You with me on that? (Laughter.) Okay, thanks.
I mean, if you’re going to say $1,000 is crumbs at the end of the year, you live in a different world than Mrs. Pence and I have lived in all of our lives. I mean, back when our kids were little, another thousand dollars in my pocket at the end of the year — we had a term for that: Christmas. (Applause.) Am I right?
I’ll tell you something, friends — any leader who thinks $1,000 in the pockets of working families is crumbs is out of touch with the American people. (Applause.)
And I’ll you what, I got to take this opportunity to just say thanks. Thanks to your leaders in Congress from both sides of the Missouri River. I’m pleased to report to all of you gathered today: Every single member of the Republican majorities in the House and Senate from Iowa and Nebraska voted to cut your taxes and get this economy moving again. (Applause.) Every single one.
Iowa is represented by strong leaders in our nation’s capital who are fighting tirelessly for hardworking men and women across this state and this nation. They’re great friends of the President and mine, and great patriots who serve with distinction. While they couldn’t be here today because they’re working in our nation’s capital, I just want to mention a few of them to you, just so you know how much we appreciate them.
Like Congressman David Young, a sixth-generation Iowan representing the good people here at Council Bluffs. And I tell you what — he fought for Iowa’s families and farmers, and made a real difference in the tax relief and the progress that we’ve made. (Applause.)
And then there’s my friend, Congressman Steve King, a principled conservative who is fighting for American jobs every day. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank Congressman Rod Blum, who’s been working to hold government accountable. He’s been bringing that business acumen. And the tax cuts we passed are a credit to Congressman Rod Blum, and I came here to say thanks to him as well. (Applause.)
And to all the Nebraskans who are with us today, Congressman Don Bacon has devoted his whole life to serving this country. (Applause.) Think about it. He wore the uniform of the United States for nearly 30 years as an Airman in the U.S. Air Force, and now he’s serving the great city of Omaha. Let’s give General Don Bacon one more round of applause for doing such a great job fighting for Nebraska’s families. (Applause.)
These are great leaders. These are great leaders. And even though they couldn’t be here with us today, I wanted you just to know how much President Trump and I appreciate the strong stand that they’ve taken for each and every one of you, and for our agenda.
So we’ve made great progress. But the truth is, we still have more work to do, and we’re going to keep working with all these great leaders in Congress to keep America moving forward. I mean, we’ve got a busy agenda this year alone.
In case you didn’t notice it, you elected a builder to be President of the United States of America. (Applause.) And President Trump is going to rebuild Iowa, rebuild Nebraska, and give us the best roads, best bridges, and best infrastructure for the best future we can have. (Applause.)
We’re going to continue to fight for trade deals that are free and reciprocal, that put American workers first. And we’re going to fix a broken immigration system, as the President said, with “policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and families.” (Applause.)
And, folks, President Trump and I are going to keep making good on the promises that we made to the people of Iowa and Nebraska. But the most important work, I promise you, in the days ahead, won’t take place in the marbled halls of Washington, D.C.
The truth is, as you all already know, the progress we’ve made as a nation is a result of the American people making a decision that they could elect a President, that they could elect leadership at every level, to turn this country around and head us back in the direction of greater security and greater prosperity.
It’s communities just like this one where we’ll make the difference, where we’ll keep building on the momentum that — even one leader that I spoke to around the world, earlier today, commended me, from the other side of the world, on the progress in our economy and our security.
The truth is, the President and I know the American people are the — and have always been — the beating heart of this nation. You make the biggest difference every day. In the big ways and in small ways. You make a difference when a mom or a dad is sitting down with one of their kids at a kitchen table — help them with the homework. You see it in America’s farmers and manufacturers whose faces may show weariness, but they also show the pride of an honest day’s work, an honest day’s pay.
You see it in neighbors helping neighbors, particularly in times of challenge and heartache. You know, in the last year, I’ve had some great privileges as your Vice President to travel around this country and a little bit around the world, representing the United States. And it’s been my great honor.
Sometimes people ask me what’s been most inspiring that I’ve seen. And I can tell you, it’s been seeing the way Americans come alongside other Americans in times of hardship and trial that has inspired me the most.
You’ve seen it here in Council Bluffs as well. I think of seven years ago — the mayor and I were just talking about it — in 2011, when this city faced one of the greatest crises in its history — the longest flood event in U.S. history.
That year, as summer approached, the American people watched as the mighty Missouri River began to rise, swollen by heavy snowmelt and excessive rains. On June 1st, the river reached flood levels, and the waters would not subside for 101 days. All told, enough water flowed past this city to cover all of Iowa and half of Nebraska a foot deep.
But in the midst of this ordeal, the people of Council Bluffs, and the people of this region, came together and stood strong. And I want to tell you that your courage, your generosity, and your grit not only spared this great city from the worst, but you inspired the nation by your example. (Applause.)
I mean, we saw this city step up. City employees worked up to 80 hours a week to keep the water at bay. Thousands of Iowans and Nebraskans volunteered to do their part too. In fact, on one occasion, I’m told, when the situation looked grim, just over 1,100 people joined together to fill more than a quarter of a million sandbags in the span of just 6 hours.
The flood, we all know, did significant damage, but the people of this city prevented a catastrophe. And as I stand before you today, let me just congratulate you on your resilience and your strength, and the way the people of Council Bluffs faced adversity and faced it together. Give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.)
I mean, what was evident there, in that moment — what the President and I saw in the wake of hurricanes earlier this year, what the President and I have seen in the wake of tragic circumstances — is the character and the spirit of the American people. I mean, when things are hardest, it seems like the heart of the American people is largest.
All of our differences wash away and we come alongside and help, just like you all did seven years ago. The truth is, this city is synonymous with the American spirit from that moment. And I truly believe it’s that spirit that now is restoring our country from coast to coast; filling our people with unprecedented optimism, and hope; and a renewed sense, again, that the best days are ahead of us.
So as I close, let me encourage each and every one of you, as you leave here today, I hope, from the great panel that you’ve listened to and a few of my reflections, that you’ve been reminded of the progress that we have made together. I mean, the President and I know, each and every day, we wouldn’t have the opportunities to serve but for the support of the people in this room and all those you represent across Iowa and Nebraska.
But I want to encourage you to do as you did in those times. Do as you’ve done in the last year. And that is, go out and tell the story. I mean, find a neighbor and a friend, somebody at work, or at your place of worship, or stop outside the grocery store or the CVS, and say, “You know, I ran into Mike the other day.” (Laughter.) “And he was talking to me about all the progress we’ve made in the last year. How we’ve made this country more secure. How we’re rebuilding our military. How we’re standing with our allies and standing up to our enemies, again, on the world stage. How we’re giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training and support that they need once again. And how we’re rebuilding this economy by letting the American people keep more of what they earn, getting government out of the way.” Go tell somebody that. Because it they’re sure as heck not hearing it on most of local cable television stations. (Applause.) Am I right?
I mean, go tell somebody. Go tell somebody that you know who trusts you, and say, “You know, I just went this thing in Council Bluffs and I heard him talking about all this and they’re right.” We’re making great progress as a nation, but we’re really just getting started, but to keep that momentum going we’ve all go to stay engaged as Americans.
Tell them everything that we’ve accomplished together, and the difference that it’s making the lives of working families, small business, and family farmers. Tell them we cut their taxes, so they can keep more of what they earn. Tell them we’re restoring American strength at home and abroad, so they and their families can sleep easier at night. Tell them we’re putting Washington back to work for them, not the other way around. (Applause.) Tell them that under President Donald Trump, the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.) Just go tell them.
And in these challenging times, where there seems to be just too much division in this great nation, I’d encourage you, if you’re of a mind, to do one more thing. If you’ve made it your practice to draw on that wellspring of American strength that has ever watered the character and the roots of this nation, I encourage you to bow the head and bend the knee and pray for America. (Applause.)
Pray for all those that serve this country at home and abroad. Pray for all those that wear the uniform, whether it be the uniform of our armed forces or the uniform of law enforcement. And I just — I thank you for your prayers for all of us that have the opportunity to serve this country in positions of leadership, that we continue to find a way forward; continue to build on the strength of this country; continue to solve the intractable problems that face us.
And when you pray, pray with confidence. Because I truly do believe in those ancient words, written millennia ago, are still true today. Words that Americans have clung to throughout our history: that if His people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do like He has always done — He’ll hear from heaven, and He’ll heal this land, this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Applause.) So pray for America because America matters.
Far beyond our time, far beyond our shores, America matters. So I appreciate that. I appreciate you all being here today. And I just — I leave here today with renewed confidence. I can’t wait to jump on the phone with the President when I get in the car and tell him how many of you came out on such a cold day — (laughter) — from both sides of the river.
But I’ll leave here with more confidence than ever that with the continued strong support and voice of the people of Iowa and Nebraska; with President Donald Trump in the White House; with all the great leadership we have representing us in both of these states, in Washington and in your state capital; and with God’s help, I know in my heart, we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase — (laughter) — we will make America great again. (Applause.)
Thank you very much. God bless Iowa. God bless Nebraska. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
5:24 P.M. CST