Remarks by Vice President Mike Pence on Tax Reform
American Axle and Manufacturing
Auburn Hills, Michigan
12:20 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Michigan! (Applause.)
It’s great to be back in the Wolverine State, and it’s great to be able to be here to bring greetings from the man that Michigan voted to make the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump! (Applause.)
But before we begin allow me to take a moment, perhaps on behalf of all of you here and anyone looking on, to say that as we gather here and talk about important issues, our hearts, our support, and our prayers are with our fellow Americans struggling to rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
From the outset of this storm, President Trump directed the full resources of the federal government to support rescue and recovery efforts.
I’m proud to say our administration has already delivered more than 4.5 million meals, 4.6 million liters of water and many millions more are on the way. Over 10,000 federal officials are on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as we speak, working hand-in-hand with local families and officials and communities to provide assistance and comfort to those in need.
They include the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Marines, the National Guard, and FEMA; they’re all on the ground making a difference right now. (Applause.) Sixteen ships already there and a hospital ship heading out tomorrow.
Now, while the needs will be great, President Trump and I know the generosity of the American people is greater still.
And so today let me just urge all of Michigan to help, however you can. If you’re wondering how, you can go to the official website for national volunteer efforts — NVOAD.org. It’s a full listing of voluntary and charitable organizations that are on the ground being the hands and feet and compassion of the American people in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
And be sure to keep the families and all of our brave first responders in your prayers. I know we’ll all do our part. And as President Trump said yesterday to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands: We are with you now. We will be with you every step of the way until the job is done. (Applause.)
So thanks so much.
It is great to be back in Michigan. The President sent me here to say thanks. Thank you, Michigan, for that historic victory last November. (Applause.) And I’ll tell you that vote is — was a promise between the people of Michigan and the people of this President, and this President has been busy keeping that promise, fighting every day for good jobs, safe streets, and a boundless future for Michigan and for all of America!
Just as you heard yesterday when President Trump announced his plan for what will be the largest tax cut in American history, and we’re going to get it done. (Applause.)
And that tax cut is what I came here mostly to discuss. But before I get started, allow me to recognize a few of the great Michiganders who here with us today, most notably the gracious man who introduced me. Governor Snyder, I appreciate the warm introduction and the friendship that we’ve enjoyed over so many years.
You know, Governor Snyder and I not long ago were friendly competitors. When I was governor of Indiana, we competed for jobs and businesses every day. While I’ll always be a little bit partial to the Hoosier State, Governor, I’ve got to give it to you, you have led the Michigan comeback, and the Wolverine State is roaring back to life! We thank you for your leadership. (Applause.)
And thank you to David Dowck and the whole American Axle and Manufacturing team for coming out today. It’s companies like American Axle that make America great. It’s remarkable to think American Axle’s history stretches back exactly 100 years to 1917 when General Motors built your first factory.
And every day for the past century as part of GM, and now as an independent company, you’ve been driving innovation and excellence in the automotive industry. You have more than 25,000 employees today. And in just the past few years, American Axle has invested more than $150 million right here in Michigan in the good, old USA. (Applause.)
American Axle, you’re an engine of American growth. Let’s give American Axle a great big round of applause. (Applause.)
And I’ll make a promise to all the team members of this great company and everybody looking on, President Donald Trump is going to be the best friend American manufacturing will ever have. (Applause.)
President Trump has already promised in his words to set the stage for a great revival of our factories. His vision is simply this: Buy American, hire American.
And since the very first day of this administration, we’ve taken decisive action to promote and protect what President Trump calls those four beautiful words: Made in the USA. (Applause.)
To drive that, I’m happy to report this President has already signed more laws cutting through federal red tape than any President in American history, saving businesses more than $18 billion in regulatory cost.
He’s ordered every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new federal red tape on businesses and job creators in America. (Applause.)
And to fuel a great revival of American industry, President Trump has been unleashing American energy. This President approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, he rolled back the so-called Clean Power Plan, and President Trump put American manufacturers and America first when he announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. (Applause.)
Folks, President Trump knows that “Made in America” will make America great again. And under this President’s leadership, manufacturing is booming. By this point last year, under the last administration, American manufacturers had lost more than 45,000 jobs. But since January of this year, under President Trump’s leadership, businesses large and small have created more than 1.2 million good-paying jobs, including 125,000 new jobs in manufacturing across America. (Applause.)
Going back decades, manufacturers have invested in jobs and factories in other countries. But this year, company after company are making record investments in America. And today, American manufacturers are more optimistic than in any point in the last 20 years.
And the truth is, confidence is back. Manufacturing is back. And under President Donald Trump, America is back and we’re just getting started. (Applause.)
As busy as we’ve been, like the President often says, at this White House, that’s just what we call a good start. (Laughter.) Got a lot more work to do.
And while the Senate ran out of time this week on the subject of healthcare, I’m going to make you a promise: Before this session of Congress ends in 2018, we will repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re going to get it done. (Applause.)
The President said, we’re disappointed that every single Democrat and a few Republicans weren’t ready to repeal and replace Obamacare, but we’re going to get it done. Not if, but when. Because the truth is — as the Governor and I just discussed — every day Obamacare survives is another day that the American people and American businesses struggle.
Here in Michigan, Obamacare has increased premiums on the individual market by 90 percent in just the past four years. Next year, nationwide premiums are expected to spike again by 26 percent. Michigan knows the truth; Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go. (Applause.)
And President Trump and I will not rest, we will not relent, until we end the Obamacare nightmare and restore a healthcare system based on personal responsibility, free-market competition, and state-based reform. That’s the American way to get the American people affordable healthcare in the 21st century. (Applause.)
But while healthcare is going to take a little bit more time, I am happy to tell you today that help is on the way right now. Because under the leadership of President Donald Trump, we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. (Applause.)
Just yesterday as you might have seen south of here in my home state of Indiana, the President laid out our plan for what will be the largest tax cut in American history, to bring about what he called, “a middle-class miracle.”
The President described our plan as the American model. It’s pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, and pro-family. Just a few minutes ago, I met with some great Michigan families and job creators who told me how much they need tax relief here in Michigan.
I spoke to Russ and Leslie Knopp, who run a small business with a little over 200 employees. They said they want a tax cut so they can hire more workers. And by simplifying the tax code, they’ll have resources immediately — overnight — to be able to increase the wages and pay for their employees.
I met, along with the Governor, with Ralph and Sally Beebe who want to lower taxes so they can give more to charity and hire more people at their engineering firm.
I talked with Jim Thienel, who runs a small appliance shop. He said he needs a tax cut so he can buy some new vehicles for the business.
And I spoke to Hank Choate, a farmer whose business has been around — his family farm actually been around since 1837. And he says he needs a tax cut so he can keep the family farm when we repeal death taxes, once and for all. (Applause.)
These are job creators. These are great Michiganders, and our country’s tax code, they know, is fundamentally broken.
There’s an old joke that the tax code is 10 times the length of the Bible, with none of the good news. (Laughter.) We got to fix this tax code. We do. (Applause.)
I just heard about it — everybody I sat down with talked to me and the Governor about the need to simply the tax code. Here’s some numbers that will startle you: Today, taxpayers spend over 6 billion hours every year filling out their taxes; 94 percent of Americans and more than 90 percent of small businesses pay somebody to do their taxes for them. And all told, complying with the tax code costs our economy $262 billion every single year. That’s more than $800 for every man, woman, and child in America just to figure out what we owe the government.
It’s not working. Not just working families, our tax code also stifles American job creators. The truth is, when you look around the world, China, Japan, Germany, Canada, Mexico — every major developed country has a lower business tax rate than the United States. We’re one of the only countries in the world that taxes every dollar our companies earn overseas. States like Michigan have paid the price for that over the years, just like Indiana.
I don’t have to tell the good folks at American Axle that America’s broken tax code has hurt the Wolverine State for decades. High business taxes have made it harder for Michigan companies to hire, to give raises, to invest in their employees’ success. It literally killed jobs across the Midwest. It caused companies to close factories and build them overseas.
Folks, this can’t continue — and under President Trump’s leadership, those days are over. (Applause.)
Because with this tax plan, we’re going to put job creators like American Axle back on the road to success, we’re going to put more money in the American people’s pockets, and President Trump — he’s going to sign a tax cut that will once again put the American people, American workers, and America first. (Applause.)
Our tax-cut plan is based on four principles, and I’ll share them with you before I slip away. First and foremost, we’re going to give working families a historic tax cut. Our plan will put more money in your pockets — money you earned that you deserve to spend on what you need.
We’re going to make sure that working families pay zero federal taxes on their first $24,000 in income by doubling the standard deduction for working families. (Applause.)
We’re going to expand the child tax credit because families deserve relief for investing in our most precious — our precious resource –- our wonderful children and the next generation.
And President Donald Trump, as I mentioned, is going to repeal the death taxes once and for all. Death will no longer be a taxable event in America. (Applause.) And that’s number one. That’s number one is tax cuts for working Americans.
Our second principle is to make the tax code simple, fair, and easy to understand for every American. We’re going to simplify the tax code by cutting seven brackets down to three, so that working families can pay less. We’re going to make sure that nearly every American can file their taxes by themselves on a single sheet of paper. (Applause.)
And we’re going to get rid of the hand-outs, the carve-outs, and the loopholes that benefit the wealthy and the well-connected at the expense of working families. President Trump is going to take on the Washington lobbyists and the special interests, and we’re going to put working America’s interests first.
And third, it’s vitally important to American Axle and companies all across Michigan and across this country — we’re going to make American business competitive again so companies like this can raise wages and create more jobs in the Wolverine State. President Trump is committed to cut the business tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent so American businesses can compete and grow again. (Applause.)
We’re also going to help companies by making sure manufacturers can immediately write off the investments you make in machinery and technology so you’ll be able to succeed even more quickly. And we’re going to make sure that small businesses and family farms get the same relief as big corporations. We’re going to cut the rate on pass-through, small businesses to 25 percent. (Applause.)
And one last principle. So it’s about working families, it’s about simplification, it’s about making American businesses large and small more competitive, but we’re also going to cut taxes on the trillions of dollars that American companies have locked overseas so they can invest those dollars in American workers, American jobs, and American future. (Applause.)
Bottom line: President Trump’s tax-cut plan will empower American companies and workers to compete on a level playing field with anyone, anywhere, anytime and — as Michigan proves every day — when the field is level, American workers always win. (Applause.)
The truth is, states like my home state of Indiana and here in Michigan have already proven that that American model of tax cuts work. With Governor Snyder’s leadership, you cut taxes on families and job creators. You restored fairness to your tax code. You turned the Wolverine State around. Hiring is up. Manufacturing is growing faster than anywhere in the Great Lakes. And unemployment in Michigan is now lower than the national average. (Applause.)
The good people of Michigan know the truth: Despite what you might hear from the liberal left and some voices in the national media, tax cuts mean more jobs. Tax cuts mean higher wages. Tax cuts mean more money in your pocket on payday. And tax cuts create an economy where anything is possible again, where anyone can achieve and live the American Dream.
As President Trump said yesterday, in his words, this is the right tax cut and this is the right time. But it’s going to take all of us to get the job done, everybody. And President Trump and I are counting on Michigan’s support again to get this across the line. I know we’ll have the support of everyone gathered here today, and I know we’ll have the votes of all of your great Republican leaders in the Congress. But as President Trump said yesterday, tax reform has historically not been a partisan issue — and it doesn’t have to be a partisan issue today. (Applause.)
I’m really here today — I’m here today to call on all of your leaders who represent Michigan in Washington, D.C., including your Democrats who represent this great state in the House and the Senate, to join with our administration to give working families and job creators the relief you need. Call your congressman. Call both your senators — especially Senator Debbie Stabenow and tell her Michigan needs a tax cut and Michigan needs it now. (Applause.)
As the President said, with enough encouragement from the American people we think Congress is going to find the courage and the cooperation to do what’s right for our great country. With your help, with the support of Michigan’s leaders in Congress, and with the leadership of President Trump, I say with confidence: Before we get to Christmas of this year, we’re going to pass the largest tax cut in American history, and we’re going to get America growing again. (Applause.)
Friends, I thank you for coming out today, and I thank American Axle for the tremendous hospitality that you’ve extended to me today. I do believe, as the President does, that we’ve come to a pivotal moment in the life of our nation. Now really is the time for everyone gathered here and everyone looking on to let your voice be heard; talk to your neighbors and your friends, those who you’ve elected to represent you at every level. Tell them you know that the policies you’ve advanced here in Michigan, like we did in Indiana, can work for American too; that we can be more prosperous, we can be stronger for working families and for the overall economy for this generation and the next.
The President and I need every ounce of your energy and your enthusiasm. We need your voice and your values. And if I can say in these too-divided times, we could use maybe one more thing. If you’re inclined to bow the head and bend the knee, it would be a good time to do it. Now, I’m not talking about praying for a particular bill or praying for a particular party. I’m really just — I’m just talking about praying for the country.
Men and women, we face some great challenges, but we face great opportunities — (applause).
And when you pray, pray with confidence because I truly do believe that those ancient words that Americans have clung to in much more challenging times than we face today are still true: That if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do like He’s always done in the long and storied history of this 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 let’s get to it, folks. Let’s go to work. Time’s a wasting. And we’ve got great opportunities before us. And I have to tell you, seeing the great enthusiasm of all of you gathered here today, I’m more confident than ever — with the great and strong support of the good people of Michigan, with the leadership of President Donald Trump in the White House, and with God’s help — we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again. (Applause.)
Thank you very much. God bless Michigan and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 12:42 P.M. EDT