Remarks by the Vice President at a "Tax Cuts to Put America First" Event in Fargo, North Dakota
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, North Dakota. (Applause.) It is great to be back in the Roughrider State with hundreds of the men and women who voted overwhelmingly to give this country a President and a Congress who, just over three months ago, enacted tax cuts to put America first. Give yourselves a round of applause. (Applause.) So thank you all for being here.
And as I get started, I bring greetings from a man whose leadership made these tax cuts possible, a man who has great admiration for the strength and the character of the people of North Dakota. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, as the President said when he was here in North Dakota last September, this is an "incredible state." This great state grows our nation's food, it pumps our nation's energy, and the good people of North Dakota literally embody the resilience and the spirit of America itself. And it is great to be back in the Roughrider State. (Applause.)
Now before I get started, let me thank a few incredible North Dakotans who are with us here today.
I want thank your governor. I want to thank your governor for that kind introduction. And I want to say thank you, Governor, for standing strong with our administration, and for your remarkable leadership for North Dakota. Under your watch, Governor, the Roughrider State is booming as never before. Let's give another round of applause for a good Governor of North Dakota, Governor Doug Burgum. (Applause.)
I can actually say I was for Doug Burgum before it was cool. (Laughter.) I literally met him when he was talking about first running for Governor of North Dakota, and I sensed his quality then. And we just admire his leadership greatly.
Let me also recognize another great leader for the people of North Dakota. A member of the United States Senate, who I am here to attest has been standing strong with President Trump and working hard for the people of North Dakota every single day. Join me in thanking Senator John Hoeven for his great leadership for North Dakota and for America. (Applause.)
And let me also say, while he couldn't be here with us today, I had a chance to visit with him and his family a little bit earlier during a very difficult week. He's an extraordinary leader for North Dakota. He's someone who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Trump and I as we've been advancing the agenda that's moving this country forward. I want to thank Congressman Kevin Cramer for his great leadership for this state and this country. (Applause.)
Now, I know I speak for people all over this great state when I say that Kevin and Kris and their entire family are in our prayers. The Good Book tells us that we mourn with those who mourn. We grieve with those who grieve. And I just want the whole Cramer family to know that in the loss of their precious son, Isaac, that they are now and will remain in our hearts and in our prayers. (Applause.)
A couple other people to thank today. I know we're also joined by your congressman's predecessor -- a man with who I actually served in the House of Representatives. I served in Congress for 12 years, but it seemed longer. (Laughter.) But one of the great leaders I served with is still a great leader across North Dakota. Join me in thanking former Congressman Rick Berg, who's with us here today. Rick, great to see you. (Applause.)
And I know you enjoyed this panel and you took time to be here today, so join me in thanking the organization that is making a difference in the life of this country, the debate over the future of this country. Join me in thanking America First Policies for bringing us all together today. (Applause.)
You know, I really came in today just to say thank you. Thank you to the good people of North Dakota for all you've done to stand with this President, stand for our agenda, and stand with this administration, not just in that decisive election victory in 2016, but literally every day since.
Because of your support, because of your determination to stand with the agenda that President Trump has been working to advance every day, I'm here to report to you, 14 months in, it's been a little more than a year of action, a year of results. In a word, it's been a year of promises made and promises kept. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it: President Trump promised to rebuild our military and restore the arsenal of democracy after years of cutbacks. And just four days ago, President Trump signed into law the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
As your governor said, I've seen firsthand the extraordinary contribution that the men and women in uniform in North Dakota make to the life of this nation and to our national security -- from Minot Air Force Base, which I visited last October, to Grand Forks Air Force Base, and to all in the 319th Air Base Wing, and more than 10,700 members of the armed forces who call North Dakota home. I'm pleased to report to all of you, on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, with the strong support of Senator Hoeven and Congressman Cramer, the era of budget cuts to our armed forces is over. (Applause.)
In fact, we just delivered to our troops the biggest pay raise in nearly 10 years. And they deserve every cent of it. (Applause.)
You know, it isn't just those on active duty the President promised to support in that election in 2016. He also pledged to stand with those who wore the uniform of the United States earlier in their lives.
In fact, there are probably many men and women who served in our armed forces who are here with us today. If you're able, would you mind just standing up if you're a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States? Would you stand up and give us one more chance to say thank you for your service? (Applause.)
Among the promises made, I'm pleased to report to you that, last week alone, the President signed into law legislation to finally give the Department of Veterans Affairs the funding it needs to completely eliminate the backlog for veterans once and for all. We're going to give veterans access to the real-time healthcare that they earned in the uniform of the United States. (Applause.)
Our President also promised to secure our borders and enforce our laws. And I'm pleased to report to you, here in North Dakota, the illegal crossings at our southern border have been cut by nearly 50 percent. And last week, President Trump signed into law border wall funding that will provide for nearly 100 miles of border wall. (Applause.) And let me make you a promise: When it comes to building the wall, we're going to build it all. (Applause.)
Our President promised to appoint strong conservatives to our federal courts at every level. And with the strong support of Senator Hoeven and conservatives in the United States Senate, this President appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States and set a record for the most court of appeal judges confirmed in the first year of an administration in American history. And they're conservatives all. (Applause.)
And in the wake of deadly shootings across our nation, President Trump promised that this time -- this time, America would take action, because no child should ever be in danger in an American school.
And last week, with the President's leadership, and Senator Hoeven's support, Congressman Cramer's support, we devoted more than $2 billion to improve school safety, and passed legislation to strengthen our criminal background check system, and give parents and schools new tools and new resources to keep our kids safe. (Applause.)
And President Trump promised to do more than has ever been done to combat a crisis that has been affecting communities large and small, not only all across North Dakota, but all across this country -- the scourge of the opioid crisis that's tearing apart American families.
Thanks to our President's leadership, we're on track to invest nearly $6 billion in new funding. And we will make this the generation that ends the opiate crisis in America. (Applause.)
So it is about promises made and promises kept, men and women. And I'm not even done with the list yet. (Laughter.)
The truth is, in this White House, it's been about strength, it's been about security, it's been about safety in our communities and in our schools.
But it's also been about restoring prosperity. And since day one of this administration, this President and our administration have been working with conservatives in the Congress to keep the promise to rev the engine of the American economy.
Our President promised to roll back the heavy hand of government. Some of you may remember, back on the campaign trail, President Trump promised to repeal two federal regulations for every new federal rule that would be put on the books. And we haven't exactly done that. Working with Senator Hoeven, Congressman Cramer and others, we've actually repealed 22 federal regulations for every new federal rule put on the book, including repealing the disastrous Waters of the USA rule. (Applause.)
The President promised to unleash American energy, North Dakota's lifeblood. He rolled back the so-called Clean Power Plan. He withdrew the United States of America from the Paris Climate Accord. And after years of inaction -- (applause) -- President Trump approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines to bring North Dakota energy to America and the world. (Applause.)
Our President promised to rebuild American infrastructure. Just last week, he signed a down payment of $21 billion for our plan to give North Dakota and all of America the best roads, bridges, and infrastructure we've ever had.
He promised to crack down on unfair trade practices. He took action recently to protect our steel, aluminum, and lumber industries. The President has taken a strong stand to put American jobs and American workers first. And I'm pleased to report to you we're making great progress on NAFTA. And today, the White House announced that we've reached an agreement in principle on a renegotiated free trade agreement with South Korea that will put American workers first. (Applause.) That's progress.
And finally, what brings us all here today is that President Trump promised to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms and ranchers. And just over three months ago, with the strong support of Congressman Cramer and Senator Hoeven, President Donald Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. That's a promise made and a promise kept. (Applause.) That's big. That's really big.
And the results speak for themselves and have been remarkable. I mean, since our election, actually -- as the President has been implementing that vision for a stronger, more prosperous America -- American businesses have already created nearly 3 million new jobs, including 3,300 new jobs in oil and gas and resource development in North Dakota.
The unemployment rate across America hasn't been this low in 17 years. And North Dakota is tied for the second-lowest unemployment rate in America. (Applause.)
And while we all know the last administration did its level best to keep North Dakota's energy resources in the ground, oil and gas production in this state is growing every day. And in 2018, they'll hit record levels.
The truth is, my fellow Americans here in North Dakota, under the leadership of President Donald Trump, and with the great leadership you have here in North Dakota representing you in Washington, D.C. and in your state house, growth is back, confidence is back. In a word, America is back! And we're just getting started. (Applause.) True.
But, you know, as the President likes to say, at this White House, that's just what we call a good start. (Laughter.) It's true. I mean, we both believe the best days for American prosperity are yet to come, because the reality is, our tax cuts are just starting to make a difference.
I mean, we cut taxes for North Dakota's working families, so you keep more of what you earned. We cut taxes for North Dakota job creators large and small, so they can compete and win with companies anywhere in the world.
And we cut taxes for North Dakota farmers by essentially eliminating the death tax for nearly every farmer in this state and in this country. (Applause.) And we brought real relief for businesses in the city and on the farm by allowing businesses to deduct the cost of new equipment immediately in the next five years.
And when we cut taxes, we also, if you didn't notice, we cut out the cornerstone of the disastrous Obamacare. And North Dakotans will no longer be forced to buy government-mandated health insurance or pay a tax if you don't. (Applause.)
All told, we believe our tax cuts are going to save the typical family of four in North Dakota more than $2,600 every year, when they take effect. And as businesses invest their tax savings in their employees, North Dakota workers can expect to see pay raises, we believe, of more than $4,500 a year, in the years ahead.
I mean, we're already on our way. Because across North Dakota, and right here in Fargo, companies have already announced plans for bigger raises, better benefits, and tax cut bonuses of $1,000 or more have been distributed to at least 34,000 North Dakota workers.
Our tax cuts are working for North Dakota, and that's why your congressman and your senior senator voted to send these tax cuts to the President's desk.
But you might have noticed the same can't be said of your other senator. (Laughter.) The people of North Dakota deserve to know that when it came time came to cut your taxes, Senator Heidi Heitkamp voted no. When it came to letting North Dakota families keep $2,600 more of your hard-earned money, Heidi Heitkamp voted no. When it came to growing North Dakota farmers the relief they deserve from the death tax, Heidi Heitkamp voted no.
But, folks, it's not just the tax cuts. The truth is, time and again, Heidi Heitkamp has voted no on the policies that the people of North Dakota support and the policies that North Dakota needs. She voted no on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
And when the United States Senate was trying to eliminate the BLM methane rule that's punishing North Dakota's energy producers, even as we speak, Heidi Heitkamp voted no. In fact, she casted the deciding vote to protect that job-killing regulation from being repealed.
She even voted no on protecting the unborn.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The truth is, Heidi Heitkamp hasn't been putting North Dakota first. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I think the people of North Dakota deserve better. (Applause.)
But I'll make you a promise: President Trump and I are going to keep working. We're going to keep working every day with your leaders in Bismarck and your conservative leaders in the Congress. And we will always put North Dakota and America first. (Applause.)
You know, in just the past year, we've taken decisive action to make America stronger and safer than ever before, with a growing economy and America standing tall on the world stage once again.
But the President and I know for all the good things that he's been able to accomplish with our partners in the Congress of the United States, we know the strength of this nation isn't to found in the marbled halls of our nation's capital. The strength of America is always -- always has been and always will be -- found in the hearts, and the character, and the work ethic of the American people. And North Dakota is proof of that every day.
And this state has always embodied the American spirit. But what's happened here in the 21st century really is nothing short of extraordinary. I mean, North Dakota, we all know, is one of the most beautiful and bountiful places in the country, feeding millions of Americans and countless others around the world. But hidden beneath your fertile fields has always been another source of prosperity: affordable and abundant energy.
For generations, those resources were largely unknown. Even when they were discovered, they were often inaccessible, locked away under your feet.
But North Dakotans didn't accept that. So you did what Americans always do: You tackled the problem with ingenuity, determination, hard work, and grit. You pioneered new forms of exploration and extraction, the likes of which the world had never seen before. You unleashed what President Trump rightly called "the North Dakota energy miracle." And the world has marveled at your leadership. (Applause.)
You know, in the time that I served in the Congress, I took note of the fact that, in the well of the Congress, there's only two quotes on the wall. They're both behind the chair where the Speaker of the House sits, just above the American flag. The first quote is the one we all cherish: "In God We Trust." (Applause.)
But the second one is a little bit higher. It's up near the ceiling. I noticed it about 10 years ago, Senator, when I was there involved in a debate on the floor about American energy. It's a quote from the great Daniel Webster. And I'll quote it in part, because I think it speaks particularly to the North Dakota energy miracle and how that's bound up with the great American story.
The quote of Daniel Webster in the well of the Congress of the United States says, and I quote, "Let us develop the resources of our land and call forth its power…promote all its great interests and see whether we also," in our time, might perform something worthy to be remembered. Think about those words.
And the truth is, that's exactly what North Dakota has done. You called forth the power of this land, the God-given riches of this country, benefitting not only the prosperity of the people of your state, but the prosperity of a nation and the energy security of a nation. You have plummeting unemployment, soaring opportunity, all through the unprecedented development of your natural resources.
I mean, the truth is that North Dakota is leading the way in an American energy renaissance. Thanks in large part to North Dakota, the United States is today the largest producer of natural gas. And this year, for the first time in a generation, we'll be the largest producer of oil anywhere in the world. (Applause.)
I mean, North Dakota is at the forefront of a great American comeback. But I'm here to tell you folks, that comeback has just begun. But we're going to need your help to keep it going. We really are.
So as I close, let me thank you again for coming out today, on this warm and balmy day -- (laughter) -- in North Dakota.
I want to encourage all of you, keep doing what you did today. Make time to stay involved as citizens. Keep the energy and the enthusiasm that I see in the room today, every day and the days and weeks that lie ahead. And let your voice be heard among your co-workers and your neighbors and your friends and your places at work and your places of worship.
You know, I'll always believe that all the TV shows in America, all the cable networks in America, all the websites, all the emails in the world don't matter a hill of beans compared to when someone who knows and trusts you hears from you about why you're supporting the policies and the people that you're backing.
I mean, word of mouth has always been the most powerful media in America. And so I just encourage you to go out and tell somebody. Tell the story of this great American renewal to your friends, and your loved ones, and your neighbors. I mean, tell them what they're not hearing on most of their cable televisions stations -- (laughter) -- right? I mean, just say, "You know, I ran into Mike the other day" -- (laughter) -- "and he was, like, reminding me of all the things we've able to do with great leaders like Senator John Hoeven and Congressman Kevin Cramer, and conservatives in the Congress in the United States who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with this President."
I mean, tell them what we've accomplished and then tell them about the difference that it's making here in North Dakota and all across this country. 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 America is standing tall, once again, on the world stage, commanding the respect of the world, and protecting our families in new and renewed ways.
And tell them -- tell them we're putting Washington back to work for them, not the other way around. (Applause.) And tell them, under President Donald Trump, the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.) You go tell them. Because it's true.
And there's one more thing I'd like to encourage you to do. As you stay involved, as you tell the story, if you're of a mind in these too divided times in this country, to bow the head and bend the knee; I encourage you to do that too. (Applause.)
I truly do believe those ancient words that Americans have clung to for generations -- ancient words written millennia ago are every bit as true today as they were when they were first uttered -- that if His people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He will do like He's always done in the long and storied history of this great nation: He'll hear from Heaven, He'll heal this land -- this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all. (Applause.) So pray for America.
So thanks for the opportunity to address you today. With your continued support and ingenuity and determination here in North Dakota, with the leadership of Governor Burgum, the strong conservative leadership of Senator Hoeven, and leaders like Congressman Kevin Cramer, and with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God's help -- I just 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.
Thank you very much. (Applause.) God bless you, North Dakota. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you.
Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President at a "Tax Cuts to Put America First" Event in Fargo, North Dakota Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/335675