U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed Senate Democrats’ hyper-partisan attempts to delay and derail Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Thune also discussed the thriving economy, the result of Republicans’ pro-growth, pro-jobs policies.
Thune’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, America has always been a place of economic promise.
“Millions of people have come to this country in search of a better life for themselves – and an even better life for their children.
“But in recent years, this dream had started to dim.
“Under the Obama administration, our economy stagnated.
“And too many American families struggled.
“Worse, some economists were predicting that weak economic growth would be the new normal.
“Well, Mr. President, Republicans disagreed.
“We didn’t think that the United States was doomed to a future of weak growth and diminished opportunity.
“We knew that American workers and American businesses were as driven, creative, and innovative as ever.
“But we also knew that they were facing a lot of obstacles, including burdensome regulations and an outdated tax code that acted as a drag on economic growth.
“And so instead of giving up on the economy, we decided that we were going to get the economy going again by removing obstacles to economic growth and job creation.
“And over the past 21 months, that’s exactly what we’ve done.
“We’ve removed burdensome regulations.
“And last December, we passed a historic, comprehensive reform of our tax code.
“Now, the tax code isn’t necessarily the first thing people think of when they think of economic growth.
“But in actual fact, the tax code has a huge effect on our economy.
“A small business owner facing a huge tax bill is highly unlikely to be able to expand her business or hire a new employee.
“In fact, if her tax burden is heavy enough, she may not even be able to keep her business open.
“Similarly, a large business is going to find it pretty hard to create jobs or improve benefits for employees if it’s struggling to stay competitive against foreign businesses paying much less in taxes.
“Prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, our tax code was not helping our economy.
“It was doing the opposite.
“And so we took action.
“We lowered tax rates across the board for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, farms, and ranches.
“We lowered our nation’s massive corporate tax rate, which up until January 1 was the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.
“We expanded business owners’ ability to recover the cost of investments they make in their businesses, which frees up cash that they can reinvest in their operations and their workers.
“And we brought the U.S. international tax system into the 21st century so that American businesses are not operating at a disadvantage next to their foreign competitors.
“And now we’re seeing the results.
“Our economy is thriving.
“The economy grew at a vigorous 4.2 percent pace in the second quarter of 2018.
“Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law less than a year ago, 1.7 million jobs have been created.
“U.S. job openings have hit a record high of 6.94 million.
“In fact, the number of job openings has exceeded the number of unemployed for five straight months.
“Wages are rising at the fastest rate since 2009.
“Middle-class income hit its highest level ever last year, and the poverty rate dropped to its lowest level since 2006.
“And small business optimism shattered its previous record to reach a new high in August.
“I could go on.
“So what does all this mean, Mr. President?
“It means that if you need a job, there are more jobs available – and jobs with good benefits.
“It means that there are more opportunities for workers to advance and build rewarding, secure careers.
“It means that fewer families are having to live paycheck to paycheck.
“And that more families have money available to plan for the future – like their kids’ college or their retirement.
“And it means that small business owners can think about expanding their businesses and hiring new workers instead of wondering how they’re going to make ends meet.
“Mr. President, when the American people elected us to the majority almost two years ago, we had one priority: making life better for American families.
“I’m very proud that we’re succeeding.
“But we’re certainly not stopping here.
“We are going to continue working to expand opportunity for Americans even further.
“And we’re going to continue to build on the work we’ve done on other priorities, from equipping our military and supporting our veterans to fighting the opioid crisis.
“Before I close, I want to take a moment to express my profound disappointment with my Democrat colleagues.
“Mr. President, it came as no surprise that Democrats were determined to oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“It’s become abundantly clear this Congress that Democrats consider being nominated by a Republican president to disqualify a person from serving on the Supreme Court.
“It doesn’t matter how mainstream you are, how widely respected, how fair and impartial – if you’re nominated by a Republican president, you’re out.
“So as I said, it came as no surprise that Democrats were determined to fight Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“The ink on the nomination was scarcely dry before the Democrat leader had announced that he was going to, quote, “fight this nomination with everything I’ve got.”
“But Mr. President, while I expected Democrats to fight Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, I expected them to do so honorably.
“I expected them to make their objections known, grill Judge Kavanaugh in the hearing, and then cast their votes against the judge.
“But that’s not what happened.
“As it became clear that Judge Kavanaugh was headed toward a vote and confirmation, it was leaked that the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee had a letter containing an unsubstantiated allegation against Judge Kavanaugh regarding an alleged incident when he was in high school.
“The ranking member had received this letter at the end of July but chose to sit on it for a month and a half without disclosing its existence to Republicans.
“Now, if the ranking member thought this allegation was credible, she had an absolute responsibility to bring it up immediately so that it could be addressed.
“Holding it until a politically opportune moment was a betrayal of her obligation as a leader on the committee.
“If, on the other hand, she thought the allegation to be false – which is the only possible justification for her decision to sit on the allegation for six weeks – then the subsequent decision by Democrats to exploit the allegation in an attempt to derail Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation is frankly despicable.
“Either way, it is clear that from the beginning Democrats operated without a shred of real concern for either the individual who made the allegation against Judge Kavanaugh or for the integrity of the confirmation process.
“And now, after a fishing expedition by Democrats, the New Yorker has reported an accusation from Judge Kavanaugh’s freshman year in college made by a woman who has admitted that her memory of the event is hazy and that she can’t be sure that Judge Kavanaugh is the individual she has in mind.
“The New York Times – not what anyone would call a conservative newspaper – declined to publish the allegation because it could not find anyone to corroborate the story – despite contacting, quote, “several dozen people.”
“But Democrats have seized on this hazy, unsubstantiated story – a story so shaky that the New York Times refused to even print it – to call for further delays in the confirmation process.
“That’s not concern for the truth.
“That’s politics, pure and simple.
“Mr. President, attacking someone’s character is a serious thing.
“If you’re going to impugn someone’s character you need to have actual evidence to back it up – not a story that even the accuser herself has called into question.
“Is this what Democrats want subsequent Supreme Court confirmations to look like?
“A hyper-partisan process in which character attacks don’t have to be backed up with actual evidence?
“In which innuendo can substitute for information?
“And where a presumption of guilt is the order of the day, no matter how shaky or unsubstantiated the allegations?
“Mr. President, I’ll say it again, I am deeply disappointed in my Democrat colleagues.
“And I look forward to hearing from Judge Kavanaugh later this week.”