Remarks by Vice President Pence at an America First Policies “Tax Cuts to Put America First” Event
4:25 P.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Ohio! (Applause.) Thank you, Congressman Jordan, my great friend of many years. To other distinguished members of Congress you’ve heard from today, to friends all: It is great to be back in the Buckeye State with the men and women who elected a President and a Congress who enacted historic tax cuts to put America first. (Applause.)
And it’s great to be back in Cleveland, where, just over a year-and-a-half ago, right here at the Republican National Convention, you nominated a leader who went on to win Ohio in a landslide. And I bring greetings from him today — the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, I stopped by the Oval Office before I left the White House to come here. The President said to me words that he’s said a hundred times. He just looked at me and said, “Just tell them we love Ohio.” (Laughter and applause.)
And let me say thanks — let me say thanks especially to some extraordinary Buckeyes who are here with us today.
The man you just heard from a few moments ago is someone that I’ve known for more than a decade. And I can tell you that this congressman from Ohio has emerged as a national leader fighting for fiscal responsibility in Washington, D.C., fighting for the conservative agenda, fighting for the people of Ohio, and a better and stronger and more prosperous future for America. Would you join me in thanking Congressman Jim Jordan for his leadership and his presence here today? (Applause.)
And, you know, there’s another great congressman from Cleveland who couldn’t be here today, but I want to say thanks to him anyway. He’s a lifelong Buckeye who has dedicated his career to serving the great people of this state. Let’s give a round of applause to Congressman Dave Joyce, who’s a great champion for Cleveland in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
And I know they’re here somewhere, but you’ve already heard from another couple of leaders I want to acknowledge — a man I had the privilege to serve with, who is a great champion of Ohio’s farmers, manufacturers, and families. Let’s hear it for Congressman Bob Gibbs. Bob, where did you go? In the back. Thank you. (Applause.)
And, finally, you heard from another friend of mine, a great friend of the President of the United States, and a guy who I can actually say I was for him before it was cool. (Laughter.) He’s been a champion — he’s been a champion for jobs, he played a critical role in passing that historic tax relief. Join me in thanking Congressman Jim Renacci for his great leadership for Ohio. (Applause.) Thank you, Jim.
And, finally, I want to thank our host for today’s event, an organization that has been sponsoring events just like this all across the country. And they’re making a real difference — a real difference in advancing the agenda that all of us work so hard to make a reality for the country. Join me in thanking America First Policies for bringing us all together today. (Applause.)
And, finally, let me just thank all of you, and invite you to go ahead and sit down if you want to. (Laughter.) Let me just thank all of you. And, really, first and foremost, it’s why I came here today, to say thank you to the good people of Ohio for everything that you did — not just in 2016, but for the way you’ve stood with this administration every day since. Because of your support, because of your efforts, I am pleased to report to you, standing here today on this great day, that jobs are coming back, confidence is back, and thanks to the great people of Ohio, America is back under President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I mean, I’m sure you already heard about it, but just this morning our administration released the latest jobs numbers. And as the President said earlier today, they can be summed up in three words: Jobs, jobs, and jobs. Did you see it?
I mean, it’s incredible. Since Ohio voted to send President Trump to the White House, businesses large and small have created nearly 3 million new jobs. But this morning’s report tells a story that is really setting a pace for history — 313,000 new jobs in February alone. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I mean, think about that for a second. Since Election Day 2016, 3 million jobs created. And just last month, 313,000 jobs created all across the United States. (Applause.) It’s incredible.
I mean, the truth is — let me give you some of the other numbers. Last month was the biggest month for construction in 11 years — 61,000 new jobs created. (Applause.)
And, you know, here in the heartland of America — back when I was governor of Indiana, I used to talk about the heartland. I used to say, “In this part of the country, we make things and we grow things. All right?” And I couldn’t be more proud to report to you that, in the month of February, American manufacturers added another 31,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs. (Applause.)
I mean, the only sector of the economy that got smaller in February was the federal government. (Applause.) It’s true. It’s true.
Folks, unemployment hasn’t been this low in 17 years; jobless claims haven’t been this low in nearly 50 years, and today, more Americans are working than ever before in the history of this country.
And the Buckeye State is booming once again. Since our election, Ohio businesses have created more than 50,000 new jobs. And in Cleveland, the unemployment rate has dropped by nearly 10 percent. In fact, after losing thousands of manufacturing jobs in the last year of the previous administration, under this President, Cleveland has gained 3,300 new manufacturing jobs, and we’re just getting started. (Applause.)
But, you know, it’s not just Cleveland. All across America, under the last administration, believe it or not, manufacturers lost nearly 2,000 jobs a month. Think about that — 210,000 lost jobs over eight long years.
But in this administration — in just over one year — we’ve more than made up the difference. Because under President Donald Trump, manufacturers large and small have added 263,000 new manufacturing jobs, more than 7,000 of those right here in the great state of Ohio. (Applause.)
Now, folks, part of what this forum is about is that we all know and we all reflect not just on the gratitude that we have for the leadership and the support for that leadership, but the fact that none of this has happened by accident. As the President that you helped elect and the members of Congress — the majorities you helped to reelect have been delivering for Ohio and delivering for America.
The truth is, you look back over the last year, there’s only one way to describe it. 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. Think about it. President Trump promised to roll back the heavy hand of government. In fact, back in that campaign, I remember being out on the trail with him. You remember him, Jim? He’d be out there on the campaign trail, here in Ohio. He said, we’re going to repeal two federal regulations for every new federal rule put on the books.
And I got to be honest with you, we didn’t exactly do that. The truth is, working with this Congress, we’ve eliminated 22 federal regulations for every new federal rule put on the code of federal regulations. (Applause.)
I mean, this President has already signed more laws rolling back federal red tape than any President in American history. And businesses large and small are growing as a result.
I mean, the President promised to unleash American energy — the energy that powers Ohio’s factories, and farms, and families. He approved the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines. He rolled back the Clean Power Plan. He withdrew the United States of America from the Paris Climate Accord. And, under President Donald Trump, the war on coal is over. (Applause.)
The President also promised to uphold the Rule of Law by appointing strong conservatives to our federal courts at every level. And he appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States, and set a record for the most court of appeal judges approved in a single year in American history. Promises made, promises kept. (Applause.)
And this President, as you saw this week, promised to crack down on unfair trade practices and fight for trade deals that are fair and reciprocal. And just yesterday, President Trump took action to protect our steel and aluminum industries, because this President and this administration will always put American jobs and American workers first. (Applause.)
And, finally — and, finally, President Trump promised to cut taxes across the board for working families and job creators large and small. And two-and-a-half months ago, with the strong support of these members of Congress, every Ohio Republican in the United States Congress, President Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. Promises made, promises kept. (Applause.)
But, you know, it’s not just about the economy and jobs. This President has also been delivering on his promise to restore American strength at home and abroad. This is a President who has once again embraced America’s historic role as leader of the free world.
To begin with, President Trump promised to rebuild our military and restore the arsenal of democracy. And thanks to the strong support of leader in the Congress like these gathered here, in just a few short weeks, President Trump will sign the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
He promised to stand with the men and women who serve in law enforcement in this country. And today’s news out of Northern California, where you may have heard there’s an active shooter at a VA hospital, reminds us of the courage and the sacrifice of the heroes who serve on the Thin Blue Line every day. Those officers in California are in our prayers. But let’s give all the police officers gathered here, who serve us and protect us every day, a sign of the appreciation we feel to each of them and their families. (Applause.)
President Trump promised to enforce our laws and secure our borders. Today, I’m pleased to report to you, illegal crossings at our southern border are down by over 40 percent. And make no mistake about it, we’re going to build that wall. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Beyond our borders, we’ve seen the leadership for security as well. This President promised to reestablish American leadership on the world stage. And this President has been standing. He’s been standing as the leader of the free world, in new ways and in renewed ways.
First off, we’ve taken the fight to terrorists, on our terms, on their soil. And thanks to the courage of our armed forces and the leadership of this Commander-in-Chief, I’m pleased to report to you, ISIS is on the run, their caliphate has crumbled, and we will not relent until we hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source so it can no longer threaten our people or inspire violence in the homeland. (Applause.)
We’ve put the leading state sponsor of terror on notice and made it clear we’ll no longer tolerate Iran’s destabilizing activities. And the United States of America has made it clear that we will no longer certify the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. (Applause.)
And in the wake of North Korea’s provocations and threats against the United States and our allies, President Trump made it clear that the era of strategic patience was over. And the President’s strategy for isolating North Korea is working.
For more than a year, our administration worked with our allies and partners to bring unprecedented economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea. And just last night, the world learned that North Korea is now willing to meet to discuss denuclearization, and is willing to suspend all ballistic missile and nuclear tests. (Applause.) That’s the difference that strong American leadership on the world stage makes. (Applause.)
As President Trump said, progress is being made; a meeting is being planned. But the world should know this, North Korea should know this: All options are on the table. And we will continue to apply maximum pressure until North Korea abandons its nuclear program once and for all. (Applause.)
So it’s about progress and security. It’s about progress and prosperity. It’s about a safer America, a stronger America, and a more prosperous economy.
But for all the progress we’ve made, I wanted to come by today, mostly to talk about the difference these tax cuts you’ve been hearing about are already making here in the Buckeye State.
It’s amazing to think, just before Christmas, President Trump passed historic tax relief for the people of Ohio and every American. And you all made that happen.
We cut taxes for working families so the good people of Ohio can keep more of your hard-earned money. We cut taxes on American businesses and their employees so Ohio manufacturers and job creators can compete and win anywhere in the world.
And not only did we cut taxes on individuals and businesses, but if you didn’t notice, we also, with the strong support of these members of Congress, repealed the cornerstone of Obamacare. The individual mandate tax is gone. (Applause.)
All told, about 90 percent of working families will see their tax cut reflected in their paycheck before this year is out. Here in Ohio, our tax cuts are going to save the typical family of four about $2,300 a year.
And our tax cuts for businesses have given them unprecedented opportunities to reward employees and grow jobs. In fact, Ohio families, we believe, can expect to see their paychecks grow by nearly $4,000 in the years ahead once these tax cuts take effect. (Applause.) And we’re already on our way, in Cleveland and across this state.
You know, businesses all across the Buckeye State have already announced plans to pay their workers more, hand out bonuses, and hire more people and open new locations. You all have heard the stories, but they’re worth recounting.
Jergens, a manufacturing company based right here in Cleveland, is doubling their employee raises this year, after the tax cut. (Applause.)
Elsons International, a great business just a few miles from here, has given its workers bonuses of more than $1,000 on average.
And Fiat Chrysler is giving $2,000 bonuses to more than 6,000 Ohio workers. Those are real results, making a real difference. (Applause.)
And across the nation, over 400 companies have announced plans to invest $480 billion since the tax cuts passed. And as I stand before you today, more than 4.3 million Americans have already gotten a raise or a bonus thanks to the President’s tax cuts.
Folks, that’s great news. But, of course, not everybody is as excited about it as I am and you are. (Laughter.)
I mean, you might have heard that the woman that wants to be Speaker House again, Nancy Pelosi —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — she actually hear about people getting a thousand-dollar bonus at the end of last year, and she said that a thousand dollars in the pockets of working families was nothing more than “crumbs.” (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE: Lock her up! (Laughter and Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Now let me remind all of you — let me remind all of you: I come from the Joseph A. Bank wing of the West Wing. (Laughter.) You with me on that? Okay. (Laughter.)
I mean, look — (laughs) — all right? When our kids were little, we had a term for another thousand dollars in your paycheck at the end of the year: Christmas. (Applause.) It’s true. I mean, come on.
The truth is these bonuses and pay raises have been making a real difference — a real difference in the lives of working families all across this country. And I want to say from my heart: Any leader who thinks a thousand dollars in the pockets of working families is crumbs is out of touch with the American people. (Applause.)
But the good news is that doesn’t include the great Republican leaders in Congress fighting for Ohio every single day. They’re still will us here today.
Your congressmen — Jim Jordan, Jim Renacci, Bob Gibbs, Dave Joyce — they all voted for those tax cuts. They voted to give Ohio a bonus, a raise, and a brighter future. (Applause.) Why don’t you show them all how much you appreciate the fight they fought for a growing Ohio and a growing America? (Applause.)
In fact, you know, every single Ohio Republican in the House and Senate voted to cut your taxes, and that includes Ohio’s great senator and my friend, Senator Rob Portman. (Applause.)
Now, the same can’t be said for Ohio’s other senator. And the people of Ohio deserve to know, when it came time came to cut your taxes, Senator Sherrod Brown voted no.
When it came to letting Ohio families keep $2,300 more of your hard-earned money, Sherrod Brown voted no.
When it came to growing Ohio paychecks by some $4,000 in the years ahead, your senator voted no.
Sherrod Brown said he voted no because he said the tax cut would “not go to employees” and they would not, in his words, create more jobs. But that’s just plain wrong. And what’s happening here in Cleveland is proof positive. Those jobs numbers this morning are proof positive.
But, you know, it’s not just tax cuts. Time and again, Senator Sherrod Brown has been voting no on the policies that Ohio supports and Ohio needs. Sherrod Brown voted no on repealing and replacing the disaster of Obamacare. Sherrod Brown voted no on protecting the unborn.
And as we speak, Sherrod Brown is leading the charge against a bill that would roll back the terrible Dodd-Frank law that’s strangling Ohio’s community banks and small businesses.
The truth is, Sherrod Brown isn’t putting Ohio first. And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think the people of Ohio deserve better. (Applause.)
And just be assured, President Trump and I, and all these great members of Congress, are going to keep fighting. We’re going to keep fighting for all of you. We’re always going to put Ohio and America first.
But, you know, for all that we’ve accomplished, this President looks at that great list of accomplishments this year — a growing economy, America standing tall in the world again — and that’s what this President calls a good start. (Applause.) He does. I mean, first off, in case you didn’t notice, Ohio elected a builder to be President of the United States, and we’re going to work with these members of Congress, and we’re going to pass historic infrastructure legislation and we’re going to rebuild Ohio’s roads and bridges and infrastructure. (Applause.) We’re going to do it.
We’re going to continue to fight for trade deals that are free and fair and reciprocal, and put American workers first. And we’re going to fix a broken immigration system with policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families. (Applause.)
And I promise you, Ohio — I promise you, Ohio, we’re going to continue to work closely with Senator Portman and these members of Congress to give the communities of this state the resources and support they need to end the opiate crisis that is ravaging too many communities and families. (Applause.)
And as we’ve watched tragedies unfold in schools from Kentucky to Parkland, Florida, next week we’re going to work with leaders in the Congress to roll out specific proposals to give law enforcement, families, and schools new resources and tools to keep our kids safe. (Applause.)
As the President said, no parent should ever fear for their child’s safety when they drop them off at school. And President Trump has made school safety our top national priority. (Applause.)
So, folks, I’m here to tell you President Trump and I, along with these great leaders in Congress, are just going to keep working every day to deliver on the promises that we made to the good people of Ohio.
The truth is, the President and I both know that the strength of this nation is not found in the marbled halls of Washington, D.C. The strength of America has always been found in the hearts and the character, the community, and the work ethic of people like all of you — the people of Cleveland, the people of Ohio, and people of America.
And Cleveland, Ohio is a great city. It’s a city that’s been through hard times in the past, but that, even as we speak, is emerging stronger than ever before.
I mean, it was amazing, just a few short years ago, Cleveland inspired the nation. That very same year the city hosted the President and I at the Republican National Convention, and sent us on our way to a historic victory, the world learned that “Believeland” really means that you believe in the future.
That year, the Cleveland Indians astonished the country. For the first time in 20 years, they reached the World Series, and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals. This is a tough town, and you know how to win. (Applause.)
That’s the Cleveland spirit for you. But it’s not just about sports; it’s evident in every part of this city. I see it all across this room today, in your shining faces and smiles. We see it in the hardworking Americans that call Cleveland and call Ohio “home.” A truck driver or a factory worker pulling a double shift who’s got maybe a long face after some long hours, but has also a face filled with the hard-earned pride of earning an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work.
You see it around kitchen tables in this country, when a mom or dad sits down with one of their kids to help them with their homework even after a long day at work.
You see it, I think, mostly in the strength and courage of the sons and daughters who step up to put on the uniform of the United States — (applause) — serve in our military, serve in law enforcement, police, fire, and safety. Men and women who count our lives as more important than theirs. They love our country. And I know the best days for our country are still on their way when I look at people like all of you, and like them.
So as I close today, let me just thank you for coming. Let me encourage each and every one of you to take the energy that I see here today and stay involved, stay engaged.
And the truth is, we’ve made great progress because of the leadership that you supported in 2016, and your willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with this President, this administration, and these courageous members of Congress every day since. But there’s a lot more work to be done.
So I encourage you to let your voice be heard. Exercise all of your rights as citizens in this critical year in the life of our nation.
And lastly, go out and tell the story of what’s happening across Ohio and what’s happening across this country to your friends and your neighbors and your coworkers. I mean, tell them what they’re not hearing on most cable television networks — (laughter) — that America is back, that America is standing tall again, America is growing again, and we’re safer and more prosperous today because of the leadership that you’ve supported.
Tell them about what we’ve accomplished together, how it’s making a real difference in their lives. Tell them we cut their taxes so they can keep more of their hard-earned dollars. Tell them we’re restoring American strength at home and abroad so their families can sleep safe at night.
And the truth is, I’ll always believe all the TV shows in the world, all the mail pieces, all the political advertising doesn’t matter a hill of beans when somebody who knows you hears from you about what’s going on and why it’s important.
So I encourage you to tell somebody. Tell somebody about this President. Tell them about these courageous leaders of Congress. Tell them about the progress we’re making as a country.
And tell them, bottom line, we’re putting Washington back to work for them. Not the other way around. And under President Donald Trump, the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. Go tell somebody. (Applause.) Tell them because it’s true.
And, lastly, in these challenging times of too much division in this great nation, I’d encourage you to do one more thing if you’re of a mind. You know, if occasionally you bow the head and bend the knee, I encourage you to do it. I’m someone that believes that prayer changes things. So pray for America. Pray for all who serve America at home and abroad. (Applause.)
And when you pray, pray with confidence. As you Buckeyes like to say those ancient words, that “with God, all things are possible.” (Applause.)
So thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. Thank you for coming out to hear these great members of Congress about the progress that we’re making.
And as I leave here today, I’m more convinced than ever — more convinced than ever — with the continued support of each and every one of you all across the great state of Ohio, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with these great conservative leaders representing the Buckeye State in Washington, D.C., and with God’s help — that we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase — (laughter) — we will make America great again.
Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless the great state of Ohio. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 4:58 P.M. EST