Remarks by the Vice President at a "Tax Cuts to Put America First" Event in Phoenix, Arizona
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Arizona! (Applause.) Wow. It is great to be back in the Grand Canyon State with men and women who voted to elect a President and a Congress that have enacted historic tax cuts to put America first. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you so much for being here today.
And before I get started, I want to bring greetings from a man who loves the great state of Arizona, and a leader that you voted to make the 45th President of the United States of America, a man who is making America great again. I bring greetings from President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Now before I get started, let me say a few words, first and foremost, about an issue I know is on the hearts and minds of people all across Arizona: the Tinder Fire burning in Coconino County. It's already forced hundreds of Arizonans from their homes, and it's threatening houses and businesses and churches and public utility facilities and more.
Now, I want to thank Governor Ducey and local officials for acting swiftly to declare a state of emergency to respond to the Tinder Fire. Great job. (Applause.) And I'm pleased to report that our administration has already approved federal funds to help fight this fire. (Applause.)
You know, America already knows that Arizona is home to some of the best and bravest firefighters in the world. It's true. (Applause.) All of America remembers the 19 heroes from the Prescott Fire Department who lost their lives fighting the blaze at Yarnell -- the Granite Mountain Hotshots. (Applause.)
Now I have to tell you, carrying on their tradition, the Hotshots' proud legacy, today more than 550 personnel are working to fight and contain this fire. And I know all of you and all of the people of Arizona couldn't be more grateful for their courage and sacrifice.
And in the days ahead, know that this -- our administration will continue to work closely with Governor Ducey and your courageous first responders to put this fire out. Let's hear it for all the heroic firefighters who are on the job in Arizona at this very hour. (Applause.)
Now, Governor Ducey, I want to thank you for that kind introduction, and thank you for being here today. I came to Arizona today to talk about the progress that our administration has been making all across America. But first, let me talk about the positive changes your Governor has been making right here in Arizona. It's been remarkable. (Applause.)
I mean, just like our President, your Governor is a man of his word and he's a man of action. Governor Ducey promised to unleash Arizona's job creators and slash red tape. And last year, Governor Doug Ducey eliminated 676 state regulations on businesses and job creators. It's amazing. (Applause.)
I mean, Governor Ducey pledged to grow jobs and expand opportunity for all Arizonans. And last year, unemployment in Arizona fell to a 10-year low.
And Governor Ducey promised to invest in your schools and support your teachers. And just a few weeks ago, I just heard that Governor Ducey released a plan to increase teacher salaries by 20 percent by 2020 because Governor Doug Ducey believes Arizona's teachers deserve a raise. (Applause.)
And under this Governor's leadership, Arizona has entered a new era of prosperity and progress. So would you all mind -- I hate to ask you to get back on your feet -- but would you mind getting on your feet and just showing how much you appreciate the 23rd Governor of the great state of Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey? (Applause.)
And I know Governor Ducey would be the first one to say that all the progress he's made had been built on a strong foundation because his predecessor did an extraordinary job herself. Would you join me in showing your appreciation for the former Governor of Arizona, the great Governor Jan Brewer is with us today. Jan, great to see you. (Applause.)
A few other people I want to mention before we get down to business. I want to recognize another Arizona leader who's here today who's been standing, literally, shoulder-to-shoulder with our President to advance the agenda that's putting Arizona first. Join me in thanking Congressman Andy Biggs, would you please? He is a great conservative in the Congress. (Applause.)
And while we're at it, I just want to extend my congratulations to America's newest member of Congress, a leader who President Trump and I know is going to do a great job representing Arizona's 8th Congressional District, Congresswoman-Elect Debbie Lesko. Thank you so much for your strong stand. (Applause.)
And I just found out when I was walking through the door that we were also going to be joined today by another favorite. (Laughter.) A great friend of this President, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law. He's spent a lifetime in law enforcement. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I'm honored to have you here. (Applause.)
And finally, just let me just thank our host of today's event. I know this has been an invigorating day for you. Lots of great voices up here at the panel promoting policies that are making a real difference in the life of working families all across Arizona; talking about these tax cuts, talking about the President's agenda. Join me in thanking America First Policies for bringing us all together today. It's a great group. (Applause.)
But I'm here today, first and foremost, just to say thanks; thanks to all of you. Because of your support, because of the partnership of Arizona's conservative leaders in the Congress of the United States, and because of the relentless leadership of President Donald Trump, you can sum up this administration in one simple phrase: It's been 15 months of promises made and promises kept. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it. Think about it. President Trump promised to rebuild our military and end the era of budget cuts of our armed forces. And true to his word, this President just signed the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
This President also promised to stand with those who served in the uniform of the United States in years past. And we've been working with these great conservative leaders in Congress. I'm proud to report that we've given the VA the resources it needs to end the backlog for veterans once and for all. And we will not rest or relent until every hero has access to the world-class healthcare that you earned when you wore the uniform of the United States. (Applause.) It's a promise.
And President Trump also promised to stand with the courageous men and women who serve on the Thin Blue Line of law enforcement. And under this administration, we are giving the men and women of law enforcement the resources and the respect that they deserve as they stand and protect our families every day. (Applause.) Let's give them a round of applause. (Applause.)
And our President also promised to secure our borders and enforce our laws. (Applause.) And with the help of Governor Ducey, we're doing just that.
You know, yesterday, I was on our southern border in California, and I met with the men and women of Homeland Security who serve on the front lines of border security every day. They've got a tough job. They've got a dangerous job. And every American is grateful every day for the courageous men and women of our Border Patrol. (Applause.) And I told them that.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Build that wall!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Now, you all know --
AUDIENCE: Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, we'll build the wall. (Applause.) Don't worry about it.
You know, the last few days, much of the nation's attention has been focused on the so-called "caravan" that made its way up thousands of miles from Central America.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: You know, but the President said, rightly, this situation is a direct result of our weak immigration laws and our porous border. And make no mistake about it: This is a deliberate attempt to undermine the laws and weaken the sovereignty of the United States of America. But under this President, we will uphold our laws, defend our sovereignty, and we will protect the borders of the United States of America. (Applause.) We will.
Let's be clear on one thing. These people, particularly vulnerable families with small children -- these people are victims. They're victims being exploited by open-border political activists and an agenda-driven media. And in far too many cases, they're exploited by human smugglers, and criminal and drug cartels who seize on their hardship to undermine our laws and weaken the sovereignty of this country.
And I'm going to make you a promise: This President and I are going to continue to keep the pressure on the Congress to do their job, and take the steps necessary to secure our border and close the dangerous loopholes in our immigration laws. (Applause.)
I mean, just yesterday, the President said Congress has got to close what he called the deadly immigration loopholes that are exploited by terrorists, traffickers, and criminals. And they're loopholes that serve as a magnet to attract some of the most vulnerable to our borders at great risk to themselves and to their families.
Secondly, just a few weeks ago, you all might have noticed, President Trump sent the National Guard to the southern border of the United States. (Applause.) As we speak, we're providing our Border Patrol agents the vital assistance that they need, in the air and on the ground. And to date, nearly 1,000 Guardsmen have deployed across our border states with more on the way, including more than 330 Guardsmen right here in Arizona. And, Governor Ducey, I want to thank you for your strong stand for border security and the rule of law. (Applause.)
With these decisive actions and the courage of our Border Patrols, I'm pleased to report to you that illegal crossings at our southern border are down by more than 40 percent. (Applause.)
And thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump and the support of conservatives in Congress, just like I said before, we are building that wall -- (applause) -- starting with the first 100 miles of construction. And when it comes to the wall, we're going to build it all. (Applause.)
But, you know, protecting the homeland also includes upholding the rule of law. And President Trump has been busy keeping his promise in that category, too. We've been appointing strong conservatives to our federal courts at every level, starting with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. And last year, we set a record for more court of appeal judges confirmed in a single year than any President in American history, and they're all conservatives. (Applause.) So it's been promises made, promises kept.
And since day one of this administration, what brings us here today is this President has been working every day to keep our promise to get this economy moving again.
I mean, President Trump promised to roll back the heavy hand of government. And working with Arizona's great conservatives in Congress, this President has signed more laws cutting federal red tape than any President in American history. (Applause.) Good.
I mean, some of you might remember from the campaign, the President used to say that for every new federal rule on the books, we'd repeal two federal rules. And I got to come clean with you: We haven't done that. We've actually eliminated 22 regulations for every new federal rule put on the books. (Applause.)
A good example is we're repealing the disastrous Waters of the United States Rule, and we're empowering Arizonans to take control over land management decisions in your communities. (Applause.) We're reaffirming private property in Arizona. (Applause.)
This President also promised to unleash American energy -- so vital to powering this economy. He approved the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines. (Applause.) He rolled back the Clean Power Plan. And President Trump put America first when he withdrew the United States from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord. (Applause.) It's promises made and promises kept.
This President also promised to crack down on unfair trade practices that work against American workers and American jobs. He's taken decisive action to protect our steel, aluminum, and lumber industries. And I can tell you, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with him as world leaders come to the United States, it's great to watch. (Applause.)
This President has been fighting for trade deals that are free, fair, and reciprocal, and put American jobs and American workers first. (Applause.)
And finally, what you all heard a lot about earlier today, what mostly brings me here today -- this President promised to cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses and ranchers and farmers. And just over four months ago, with the strong support of Congressman Biggs and all of Arizona's conservatives in Congress, President Donald Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in the history of this country. (Applause.) That's promises made and promises kept, Arizona.
You know, all these actions are really, already, making a remarkable difference. Since Election Day, businesses large and small have already created nearly 3 million new jobs, including more than 85,000 new jobs right here in Arizona. (Applause.)
The unemployment rate hasn't been this low in 17 years. And in Arizona, it's fallen by nearly 10 percent in the last year. The truth is, jobs are coming back, confidence is back. As I stand before you today, I say with confidence, under President Donald Trump, America is back and we're just getting started. (Applause.)
And, you know, the President and I know that the best days for American prosperity are yet to come, because these tax cuts are just starting to make a difference. I mean, the truth is, we cut taxes for Arizona's working families, so you can keep more of your paycheck every single month. We cut taxes for job creators and employees, so they can compete and win anywhere in the world. And when we cut taxes, we -- if you didn't notice it -- we also cut the heart out of Obamacare. (Applause.) The individual mandate is gone. Off the books, once and for all. (Applause.)
You know, all told -- all told, these tax cuts the President signed into law are going to save a typical family of four here in Arizona about $2,100 a year on your taxes. But that's only half the story. Because you'll also see more in your paychecks because we cut taxes for job creators as well.
You know, it's a proven formula that a tax cut for businesses ultimately is a raise for workers. In the years ahead, we believe that as businesses continue to respond to this unprecedented tax relief, that we expect the average Arizona worker is going to see a pay raise of about $4,000 a year. (Applause.)
And, you know, it's already happening. It's already happening -- because over the past four months, more than 500 companies across the country have announced bigger raises, better benefits, and tax-cut bonuses to more than 5.5 million Americans, including more than 45,000 workers that have gotten a pay raise or a bonus right here in Arizona. (Applause.) That's real results.
Now, not everyone thinks these tax-cut bonuses are a big deal. I mean, really, did you hear about it? I mean, last year you had companies all over the country passing out thousand-dollar bonuses to people at the end of the year. And the person who wants to be Speaker of the House again -- Nancy Pelosi --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- she actually heard about those thousand-dollar bonuses, and she said $1,000 in the pockets of working families at the end of the year is nothing more than "crumbs."
Now, let me remind you that I come from the Joseph A. Bank wing of the West Wing of the White House. (Laughter.) You guys with me on that? I mean, Karen and I have always lived on a budget. Still do. I mean, when our kids were little, we had a term for another $1,000 in my paycheck at the end of the year: Christmas. (Applause.)
I mean, let me say from my heart, very seriously -- anyone who says $1,000 in the pockets of working families is crumbs is out of touch with the American people and should never lead the people's Congress again. (Applause.)
I mean, I don't know if you all remember the last time liberals ran the Congress. I do. I was actually there. (Laughter.) I mean, they nearly ran the country into the ground, truth be told. I mean, they raised taxes, they cut military spending, they tried to pass cap-and-trade, and they gave us the nightmare of Obamacare.
And here's the thing: These liberals today aren't your parents' liberals. Okay? I mean, the Democratic Party today has gone further to the left than ever before. I mean, you only have to look at Arizona's liberals in the Congress for proof.
While Arizona has got some great conservative representatives, like Congressmen Andy Biggs, Congressman Paul Gosar, Congressman David Schweikert, and Congresswoman Martha McSally -- (applause) -- the same can't be said -- the same can't be said of two of Arizona's other representatives: Congressman Ruben Gallego and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I mean, when the time came to cut your taxes, Kyrsten Sinema voted no. When the time came to let the people of Arizona keep more of your own hard-earned money, Kyrsten Sinema voted no. When the time came to repeal the disaster of Obamacare -- which has actually given Arizona some of the highest health insurance premium hikes in the country -- Kyrsten Sinema voted no.
But it's not just tax cuts. Time and again, Ruben Gallego and Kyrsten Sinema have voted no on policies that Arizona needs. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I think Arizona deserves better. (Applause.)
You know, this is a pivotal year in the life of our nation. So I want to challenge each and every one of you. I mean, I hope you found the discussions today encouraging and enriching. I hope you're leaving here better informed and better encouraged than you were when you arrived. But I hope you also leave here with a little burden on your heart to go tell the story of what you've heard here today, about the progress that Arizona has been making under your great state leadership, and the progress America is making under President Donald Trump.
I want to challenge you to make your voice heard. I want you to exercise all your rights in this year and this fall. But in the meantime, I want you to tell the story of what's happening to your friends, your loved ones, and your neighbors.
I mean, the truth is, tell them what they don't hear from most of their cable television stations -- (laughter) -- about what we've accomplished in America, and the difference that we've made.
I mean, I truly do believe that all the TV commercials in the world, all the cable television news shows with long panels of people expressing their opinions, all the advertisements and political discussion on the airways is not to be compared to when a friend of yours, someone who trusts you and respects you at work or at worship, hears from you about what's happening that's good in this country and this state.
So I want to challenge you today. I want you to leave here today and reach out to your neighbors, your friends, over a backyard fence or outside the grocery store, at worship, at work. Tell them -- just tell them, "I ran into Mike the other day" -- (laughter) -- "and he was like -- it like took him a half hour to get through everything President Donald Trump has accomplished in 15 months for the American people." (Applause.) I want you to go tell them. Tell them about the difference that it's making.
I mean, here's the thing: I mean, remind them that we cut their taxes, all right? Tell them to check their paycheck, all right, so they keep more of what they earned. Remind them that we're restoring American strength at home and abroad, rebuilding our military and standing with the men and women in uniform here and around the world to protect our freedom and protect our families.
I mean, bottom line -- tell them, under President Donald Trump, we're putting the government back to work for you, not the other way around. (Applause.) And under President Donald Trump, the forgotten men and women are forgotten no more. That's what I want you to go tell them. (Applause.) And tell them about the progress, and tell them this year. (Applause.)
Because we got a great story to tell. We got a great story to tell. But how will they know if they do not hear? So I encourage you, avail yourself, Arizona, of that rugged individualism for which you are known so well, and go tell the story of the progress we're making.
You know, as I wrap up, I look forward to saying hello to as many of you as I have an opportunity, before they slip me away. (Laughter.)
But let me just make mention of one issue before I close. You know, as I stand before you today, I know I do so at a time when a longtime Arizona leader, who has dedicated his life to this country, is on the hearts and minds of people all across this state -- Senator John McCain. (Applause.)
As we gather here, Senator McCain, I'm told, is back home recovering from his latest medical treatment. He spent an entire lifetime fighting for the country that he loves -- in the United States Navy, in the House of Representatives, and representing Arizona in the United States Senate. Now, I know he's fighting this illness with courage and with strength.
Let me just say, I know I speak on behalf of everyone here and people all across the country when I say that Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family are on our hearts during this difficult time. And people all across America are praying for Senator John McCain. (Applause.)
And, you know, in these challenging times, where there seems to be more division than I remember in my lifetime, prayer is something we ought to think about. (Applause.)
And, you know, if you're of a mind to bow the head and bend the knee from time to time, I encourage you to do it -- to pray for America. (Applause.) Because I'll always believe -- I'll always believe that those words inscribed millennia ago, that Americans have clung to through our history, through much more challenging times than we face today, are still true today -- that if His people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He'll do like He's always done through the long and storied history of this great nation. 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 I got to run, but I just want to say thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Thanks for taking time. I know --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No, thank you! (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I leave here -- I hope you're leaving here encouraged, because I sure am. (Applause.) And I'm absolutely convinced, with the continued support of the good people of Arizona and your great conservative leaders in the Congress, with President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God's help, I know 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 Arizona. 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 Phoenix, Arizona Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/335688