Remarks by the Vice President at a "Tax Cuts to Put America First" Event in Des Moines, Iowa
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Iowa! (Applause.) It is great to be back in the Hawkeye State. A state that gave us a President and a Congress that enacted tax cuts that are putting America first and putting America back to work. (Applause.)
Let me begin today by bringing greetings from a friend of mine. I spoke to him before I got on the plane this morning. Told him I was headed your way. It was a man that the people of Iowa voted overwhelmingly to make the 45th President of the United States of America, and he loves Iowa. So I bring greetings from President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I'm so grateful you're all here. Very humbled by it. It's a great, great honor to be with all of you today to be able to talk about the progress that we're making all across this country and all across Iowa.
But before I begin, allow me to address an issue that I know is on the hearts of all the people of Iowa. You know, as Vice President, but more importantly as a father, I can't imagine what the family of Mollie Tibbetts is going through. It's been about a month since her disappearance. We're truly grateful for the efforts of law enforcement officials at every level. And I want to assure all of you, as I did the governor earlier, that we're going to continue to provide any and all federal support.
But I just want Mollie's family to know, you're on the hearts of every American. And we will continue to work and we will continue to pray for Mollie's safe return. (Applause.) So thank you. Thank you all for that.
Well, Governor Reynolds, thank you. Thank you for that kind introduction. But more importantly, thanks for all you have done for Iowa's farmers, Iowa's families. (Applause.) Under your leadership, the Hawkeye State is recognized as one of the best-run states in America. Would you all join me in thanking Governor Kim Reynolds for the outstanding job that she is doing for the people of Iowa. (Applause.)
I also want to thank three more remarkable Iowa leaders who I had a chance to spend a little bit of time with today. Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer -- it's an honor to be with you today, madam speaker. Thank you for your great leadership. (Applause.)
And two friends of mine -- you know, I served in the Congress of the United States for about 12 years, and I know the sacrifices and I know the determination it takes to create a career of principle on Capitol Hill. And Iowa, you have two principled leaders in Congressman Steve King and Congressman David Young. (Applause.) Thank you both for being here.
And finally, I'll give you a chance to give a round of applause to the people that brought us together today. I want to thank America First Policies for putting this forum together so we can talk about those tax cuts that are reviving this economy. (Applause.)
You know, I mostly came today just to say thank you. Thank you on behalf of our President, the First Family, on behalf of my family, and our entire administration for all of your support in Iowa. And I don't mean just in 2016 on Election Day, but literally every day since.
I mean, you think about the last 18 months, and I got to tell you, in the year and a half since we took office, I think there's only one way you can sum it up: It's been a year and a half of action. (Applause.) It's been a year and a half of results. It's been a year and a half of promises made and promises kept. (Applause.) And we're just getting started, Iowa.
I mean, think about it. I mean, think about it. We promised to rebuild our military, restore the arsenal of democracy. And not long ago, the President signed into law the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
Our administration is taking renewed steps to ensure American leadership and dominance on land, sea, air, and space. (Applause.) In fact, we've already began the process of establishing the sixth branch of our armed forces: the United States Space Force. (Applause.)
And as we stand here today in Veterans Memorial Auditorium, I couldn't be more proud to serve with a President who cares so deeply about the men and women of our armed forces, and all of those who served in the uniform of the United States. (Applause.)
You know, with the strong support of members of Congress, like David Young, we're finally giving our veterans the benefits that they earned in the uniform of this country. We're giving them real-time access to world-class healthcare. And we're holding VA employees accountable to make sure our veterans get the best care in the world. (Applause.)
And I got to tell you, I know there's a -- there's more than a few men and women who have worn the uniform who are here with us today. And if you're able, would you mind just standing for a second if you've served in our armed forces and give us an opportunity one more time to say thank you for your service? (Applause.) Thank you all.
You know, just a few weeks ago, the world witnessed this President's commitment to those who've served in uniform as he worked to keep our solemn obligation to all of those who've served. Back in June, when he sat across the table from the leader of North Korea, he not only secured a commitment for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but President Donald Trump secured a commitment for the return of all of the remains of our missing fallen from the Korean War. (Applause.)
I had the great honor of being present just a week and a half ago in Hawaii when the first remains of our fallen came home. And I have to tell you, as the son of a combat veteran from the Korean War, the President will never give me a higher honor.
And the truth is, thanks to the leadership and the compassion of our Commander-in-Chief, our boys are finally coming home. (Applause.) So it's promises made and promises kept.
But closer to home, we promised to enforce our laws and secure our borders. And I'm here to tell you, from our -- the first day of this administration, we've been giving law enforcement at every level the resources and the respect they deserve.
Working with these leaders in Congress like Congressman Steve King, we've enacted the biggest funding increase in border security in nearly a decade. (Applause.) We're removing criminal illegal immigrants and gangs from our streets in record numbers. And we've already started to build that wall on the southern border of the United States. (Applause.) It's happening.
We also promised to -- this President did -- to appoint strong conservatives to our federal courts at every level. In case you hadn't noticed it, the Senate's back in session this summer. Should be confirming a few more judges this week. But this President has already set a record for the most court of appeals judges in the first two years of any administration in American history, and they are conservatives all. (Applause.)
And that doesn't even count Justice Neil Gorsuch or the next great justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. (Applause.)
Now let me say a word: Judge Kavanaugh is a man I've been able to spend some time with. He's a man of integrity and principle. He has a proven record of support for limited government, our Second Amendment, and religious liberty. And I know he's going to get the fair hearing he deserves because the chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. (Applause.)
But let me be clear: Given his integrity, given his record, given his commitment to the Constitution of the United States, Judge Brett Kavanaugh deserves the support of every member of the United States Senate. (Applause.)
So it's about promises made and promises kept. But what brings us here today is that we've also, under President Trump's leadership, kept the promise to focus on this economy -- get this economy moving again in Iowa and all across the country. And as I stand before you today, I know you feel it too. Under President Donald Trump's leadership, confidence is back. Jobs are coming back. In a word: America is back. And we're just getting started. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it. Since Election Day, businesses large and small have created nearly 4 million new jobs including 17,000 jobs right here in the Hawkeye State.
Iowa has actually the third-lowest unemployment rate in America and it's fallen by more than 20 percent in just the last year and a half, Governor. (Applause.)
The truth is, unemployment claims haven't been this low in nearly 50 years. In fact, the President and I couldn't be more proud -- couldn't be more proud that we've set a new record: the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. (Applause.)
I mean, the truth is, the American Dream is working for every American once again. After eight years of slow growth under the last administration, we just reached economic growth of 4.1 percent. That's more than twice as fast as the average rate of growth under the Obama years. (Applause.)
And I'll never forget, we were out on the campaign trail -- out on the campaign trail, Governor. It was -- I think it might have been September of 2016. The President was giving a big economic speech at this economic club of New York. And all the economists and the advisors backstage had told him -- they said, "When you get to that part, say we're going to cut taxes, we're going to roll back regulation. And then you can say, 'I believe that we can achieve 3 percent economic growth.'"
And then-candidate Donald Trump looked at his advisors as I stood nearby, and he said, "Well, I think it will be more than 3 percent." And they said, "Well" -- (laughs) -- this is a true story. They said -- they said, "Well, no, but we know we can get to 3 percent. We haven't seen 3 percent consistently for a while, so let's just go with 3 percent." And he says, "Well, but I think it will be more." And they said, "No, just go with that." He said, "Okay."
He walked out on the stage. He got to that part of that speech. He turned the page. He said, "Well, when we get our agenda done" -- he said, "I'm going to establish a national goal of 4 percent economic growth." And he said, "Those people backstage didn't want me to say it, but I know we're going to do it, and I know we're going to do even better than that." And he was right. (Applause.)
Last year, we averaged almost 3 percent. And this year, we're on track to be over 3 percent. It's just incredible to see what the American people have done with the agenda that you all have advanced.
I got a text on the way here from a friend that runs a bulldozing company down in Georgia. And he was telling the -- telling another friend of mine that he said, "I can't promise you I can get the dozers out to the farm by December." Because he said, and I quote, "This Trump economy ain't no joke." (Applause.) And no truer words.
And it's not happened by accident, folks. I mean, the truth is, from early in this administration, this President has been rolling back federal red tape at a record level. You know, President Donald Trump has actually repealed more federal red tape already than any President in American history. (Applause.) And that included repealing the Waters of the USA rule, strengthening private property rights for every American.
We promised to unleash American energy, we approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines right out of the gate. And President Trump put America first when we withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord. (Applause.)
And we've been fighting for a level playing field. We've confronted countries that, frankly, for too long have been taking advantage of America on trade. And we've made unprecedented progress to forge trade deals that are free, fair, and reciprocal that put American workers and American families first.
Now, as a former governor of an ag state, I know that there's some concern among our farmers right now. And while some countries are actually retaliating against our farm economy because they don't want to change their unfair trade practices, let me make you a promise: Our administration will not back down. We will stand with American farmers 100 percent. (Applause.)
Now, I got to tell you, there's not a whole lot of time goes by before the President and I hear from your great Governor Kim Reynolds on just this topic. She's a great, great champion for agriculture here in Iowa and across the country. (Applause.) The same goes for Congressman Young and Congressman King. (Applause.)
I mean, the truth is, they're fighting tirelessly for American farmers across this state, and we're grateful to it.
And as we speak, we're working with these members of Congress to pass a multi-year farm bill that's going to provide rural America, our farmers, and producers with the long-term certainty to prosper during changing times. I promise you that. (Applause.)
But as Governor Reynolds and I talk on a regular basis, the good news is we're making real progress on better trade deals. As we speak, we're working with Canada and Mexico on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement. And we're making real progress, Iowa, I'm here to tell you.
We're actually in negotiations already with Japan about a new and a better trade relationship. And the European Union was in just a few days ago to start the same conversation.
But we've already opened up lots of different markets around the world to American products: Argentina to American pork, Vietnam to American corn and wheat, China and Australia to beef, and the European Union, in those conversations, already agreed to buy more American soybeans. And I'll promise you, we will never stop fighting until American farmers win as never before. (Applause.)
So we've been cutting red tape, been unleashing American energy, we've been fighting to open foreign markets to American goods. But probably one of the biggest reasons for the growth and the expansion in the economy that we see today is that, right before Christmas, President Trump, with the strong support of these members of Congress, kept the promise we made to the American people when he signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. (Applause.)
I mean, we cut taxes for working families. Now, back of the envelope, we figured out the typical family of four in Des Moines is going to save about $3,000 a year on their taxes.
We cut taxes for businesses large and small. It's what happens when you elect a businessman to be President of the United States. He insisted that we cut taxes so small and large businesses can compete and create jobs here in Iowa against businesses anywhere in the world. (Applause.)
We repealed death taxes for nearly every American farmer so the family farm can stay right where it belongs. (Applause.)
And when we were busy cutting taxes, in case you didn't notice, we cut out the core of Obamacare. The individual mandate tax is gone. (Applause.)
And the results, we already talked about, but they've really been remarkable. I mean, thanks to these tax cuts alone, more than 6 million Americans have already received bonuses, pay raises, and bigger benefits, and that includes 25,000 Iowans who've already seen a better benefit or a better paycheck or a bonus as a result of the tax cuts. (Applause.)
I mean, following the tax cuts, Iowa utilities like Alliant Energy, MidAmerica[n] Energy, Iowa American Water Company are actually cutting their rates. That's worth a round of applause. That's going to save people in the Hawkeye State $110 million a year in your electrical bills. (Applause.)
And companies of all size -- I hear it everywhere I go in the country -- they've been investing in workers, from Anfinson Farm Store, which gave a $1,000 bonus and a 5 percent raise to its seven workers, to Nationwide Insurance, Wells Fargo, and Lowe's that gave raises and bonuses to thousands of Iowa employees. It's really been incredible.
Now, I got to tell you, you know, a $1,000 bonus in your paycheck that you weren't expecting at the end of the year, you know, that's -- I think that's kind of a big deal. (Applause.) You know? It is.
But, you know, not everybody agrees. Right? (Laughter.) I mean, Nancy Pelosi -- remember what she said after she heard that people all across the country are getting a $1,000 bonus at the end of last year? She said $1,000 was nothing more -- was nothing more than crumbs. Remember that?
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, let me remind all of you that my wife Karen and I come from, you know, what we call the Walmart Wing of the West Wing -- (applause) -- of the White House. Is that -- are you with me on that? Okay, good.
I mean, we've always lived on a budget. We still do as a family. We had a term, when our kids were little; we had a term for an extra $1,000 in my paycheck at the end of the year that we weren't expecting: Christmas. (Applause.) Anybody else there?
I mean, in all seriousness, folks, anybody that says $1,000 in the pockets of working families in this country [is crumbs] is out of touch with the American people and should never lead the American Congress again. (Applause.)
Now, we've accomplished all these good things that we're talking about: the progress, the energy in this economy, with the strong support and partnership of Iowa's leaders at every level, including these great conservatives in Congress who are here with us today.
And Congressman Steve King not only voted to cut your taxes, he's been working, as I said before, to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and he's just made an incredible difference. And I just couldn't be more proud to have served with him in Congress and to be sharing this day with him today in Iowa. Give him another round of applause, folks. Everything we've done has been a result of the strong support. (Applause.)
And Congressman David Young -- I didn't have the privilege of serving with him in Congress; I'd gone home to Indiana by the time he showed up. But he arrived in Capitol Hill and has been a leader from day one. Just like Steve, he's a man of principle and a man of integrity. He's a champion for tax cuts for working families and job creators. He's fighting for Iowa farmers,
But he also authored legislation to fix the Veterans Crisis Line. I have to tell you, Congressman David Young is doing a great job for Iowa's working families and our veterans, and we couldn't be more grateful. (Applause.)
And these leaders aren't the only ones that have been cutting your taxes, in case you didn't notice. So is Governor Kim Reynolds. (Applause.) Earlier this year, Governor Reynolds laid out a vision to lower the tax burden on Iowa families by nearly 25 percent. And in May, Governor Reynolds delivered when she signed the largest state tax cut in Iowa history. (Applause.) Thank you, Governor.
I mean, the truth is, in case you didn't notice, under Governor Reynolds's leadership, Iowa has been ranked as one of the top three best-run states in America. It's ranked as the best state in nation for middle-class families.
And I got to be quite honest with you, I'm kind of glad I'm not governor of Indiana anymore and have to compete with Governor Kim Reynolds for jobs and opportunities that are coming to the great state Iowa. Thank you, Governor. Thank you for being here. (Applause.)
I mean, truth is, though: These leaders have been standing with us. You know, one of the things the President -- and I see him -- I see him say more often than almost anything else, when people will come up and thank him for what he's done for the country, he invariably will say, "It's what we've done. It's what we've done together."
I mean, the leaders that you've supported, from the President on down; the agenda that you continue to support each and every day -- it's what we've done together. And I hope you leave here today with that great sense of gratitude that the President and I, and I know all these leaders feel for the support you've delivered.
I mean, the truth is, the results speak for themselves. And they just about have to because they're not covered on most of your major cable news networks. (Laughter.) Right? (Applause.)
I mean, we're turning America around whether most of the Washington media is noticing it. All right? Because it's happening. (Applause.) It's true.
The truth is the American people are not only more optimistic than they've been in years; I also think -- as I close, I also have to tell you, I think faith in America is rising too. (Applause.) I do. Faith in our ideals, faith in our future, faith that the best days are yet to come in this country.
I mean, I have to tell you, one of the most troubling things to me, in recent years -- which you actually had some polling -- that showed that a near majority of Americans didn't think their kids were going to have more opportunities that they've had in life to succeed. And that's changing now. You can feel it in the air. And we've come this far because of all of you.
So as I close, I just -- I not only want to thank you, but I hope you leave here today with a little bit of a burden on your hearts. I hope you leave here today with the burden to continue to stand with all of those that are standing up for the agenda that Iowa voted for -- voted for so strongly in 2016.
Keep standing with this President. Keep standing with these leaders at the state and federal level that are standing up boldly for that agenda -- the agenda that is making America safe and prosperous again.
And secondly, go tell somebody about it. Right? I mean, let your voice be heard. You know, say -- say, you know, "I was in Des Moines the other day. I ran into Mike" -- (laughter) -- "and it took him the better part of a half hour just to go through the top lines of everything this nation has accomplished in just a year and a half under the leadership of President Donald Trump." (Applause.) I mean, go tell them.
I mean, talk to people at work, at worship. You know, I'll always believe the most powerful media in America is now, and always has been, word of mouth. I mean, just when one neighbor talks to another. So stop people outside the grocery store, over a backyard fence, outside worship on Sunday, maybe over a bite to eat at Machine Shed -- (laughter) -- and just talk to them about what you heard today.
I mean, tell them what they're not hearing about from most of the major national news networks. I mean, here's -- let's start here: Tell them we cut their taxes so they can keep more of what they earn -- (applause) -- and that jobs and the economy are coming back. Okay?
Tell them we restoring American strength at home, rebuilding our military; we're commanding respect in the world; and their families are safer, and their freedom is secure. Go tell them that -- because it's happening. (Applause.)
I mean, tell them that we're putting Washington to work for them, and not the other way around. I mean, just tell them that the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. Go tell them, Iowa, because it is the God's honest truth. (Applause.) It's the truth.
It's a great story. But America has always been a great story. You know, I like to say America might just be the second greatest story ever told. (Laughter.)
So as I close, let me -- let me leave you with one other thought. You know, I think -- I think faith in America is rising -- faith in our ideals and in our future. But from all of my travels across this country, and even today here in Iowa, I believe with all my heart that faith is rising in America as well. (Applause.) I see it. I feel it everywhere I go.
I mean, the sweetest words the President and I ever hear are when people will reach out, grab you by the hand, and say, "I'm praying for you." And I hear it a lot. (Applause.)
So let me leave you with that. As you leave here today determined to continue to support all of those that are supporting this agenda that Iowa voted for, as you leave here today determined to go tell somebody, if you're also of a mind to bow the head and bend the knee from time to time, I'd encourage you to do it. It's a good time to pray for America. (Applause.) Pray for all the people of this country because prayer matters. It truly does.
And I rather think that our 16th President said it pretty well. He was asked during his time -- a time much more challenging than we could even imagine in this time in our nation -- he was asked once -- Abraham Lincoln was -- if he thought that God was on his side. And President Lincoln said, I'd rather concern myself more with whether we're on God's side than whether God is on our side. (Applause.)
So pray for America. Pray for all of the American people. Pray for this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Applause.) Because it will make a difference. Believe it. (Applause.)
So I got to run. I got a plane to catch. (Laughter.) And I want to thank you for coming out. I just have to tell you, for this small-town boy from southern Indiana, just from my heart: Thank you for the honor of serving as your Vice President. It's the greatest honor of my life. (Applause.) And thank you for being here today. (Applause.)
I leave here today with -- as I always do from these gatherings -- I leave here today with renewed confidence -- I really do -- that with your continued support, with great leaders like Governor Kim Reynolds at the State House, with great leaders like your great conservative leaders in Congress, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God's help, I just know we will make America safe again. (Applause.) Together, 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 you, Iowa. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President at a "Tax Cuts to Put America First" Event in Des Moines, Iowa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/336011