U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the strong state of the economy: 4.1 percent growth in the second quarter of 2018, unemployment at 3.9 percent – close to an 18-year low, record high small business optimism, and other great news thanks, in part, to Republican economic policies.
Thune also discussed Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s impressive resume to serve as the next Supreme Court justice.
Thune’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, when it comes to deciding whether or not to confirm a Supreme Court justice, there are two important questions:
“One, is this person well-qualified?
“And two, does this person understand the proper role of a judge?
“When it comes to Brett Kavanaugh, the answer to both questions is yes.
“I don’t need to tell anyone how qualified Judge Kavanaugh is.
“He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a lecturer at Harvard Law School.
“He has extensive legal experience in government and private practice.
“And he has spent the past 12 years serving on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, sometimes referred to as the ‘second-highest court in the land.’
“His opinions have been endorsed by the Supreme Court more than a dozen times and are regularly cited by courts around the country.
“In short, he is eminently qualified to be a justice on the Supreme Court.
“But being qualified, while essential, is not sufficient.
“A Supreme Court justice also needs to understand the proper role of a judge.
“And that role is to interpret the law, not make the law.
“To judge, not legislate.
“To call balls and strikes, not rewrite the rules of the game.
“Judge Kavanaugh understands this.
“He understands that as a Supreme Court justice, his job will be to rule based on the facts of the case, the law, and the Constitution – and nothing else.
“Not his personal opinions.
“Not his political feelings.
“Not his beliefs about what the law should be.
“Just the plain text of the law and the Constitution.
“And that, Mr. President, makes Judge Kavanaugh exactly the kind of judge that all of us – Democrats and Republicans alike – should want on the Supreme Court.
“The kind of judge who, in the words of Judge Kavanaugh, will decide cases “without regard to policy preferences or political allegiances or which party is on which side in a particular case.”
“But of course, Mr. President, that’s not the kind of justice Democrats are looking for.
“They don’t really want an impartial justice.
“They want a justice they can rely on to rubber-stamp Democrat policies.
“And so even before President Trump had named a replacement for Justice Kennedy, Democrats were already signaling their intention of rejecting anyone the president put forth.
“One Democrat senator formally announced his opposition to the president’s nominee the morning of July 9 … before the president had actually nominated anyone.
“Since Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, Democrats have tried to make a case against Judge Kavanaugh, flinging up accusations in the desperate hope that something will stick.
“Needless to say, they haven’t had much luck.
“It’s difficult to argue that a judge like Judge Kavanaugh isn’t eminently suited to serve on the Supreme Court.
“Democrats are also doing their best to delay the proceedings by making outlandish demands for documents relating to Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the White House.
“Apparently the up to 1 million pages the Judiciary Committee expects to receive from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the executive branch and his circuit court confirmation isn’t enough – even though it could be more than the amount of material received for the last five Supreme Court nominees combined.
“One also has to ask why Democrat leaders feel the need to see any material for Judge Kavanaugh, given the fact that they’ve already made up their minds to oppose him.
“But of course it’s not about the material.
“Democrats aren’t really interested in reading every email that happened to be copied to Judge Kavanaugh.
“They just want to delay his nomination.
“Mr. President, it would be nice if Democrats would abandon their partisan opposition to Judge Kavanaugh and take a serious look at this superbly qualified nominee.
“Unfortunately, I expect the political posturing to continue.
“But we will continue to move forward with the confirmation process to deliver another outstanding justice to the Supreme Court.
“Mr. President, the good economic news is pouring in.
“The economy grew at an impressive 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018, bringing economic growth for the year so far up over 3 percent.
“Unemployment dropped to 3.9 percent in July, close to an 18-year low.
“Worker pay and benefits are increasing at the fastest pace in a decade.
“Consumer confidence is at a nearly 18-year high.
“Disposable income is up 3.5 percent.
“And small business optimism is at a record high.
“In short, Republican economic policies are working.
“Mr. President, I don’t need to tell anyone that economic growth lagged during the Obama administration.
“The recovery from the recession was historically weak, and some economists were predicting that 2 percent growth would be the new norm.
“But Republicans disagreed.
“We didn’t think that American workers should have to resign themselves to permanent sluggish economic growth, and the diminished opportunities that came with it.
“We knew that American innovators and job creators were as creative and driven as ever.
“But we also knew that American businesses large and small were weighed down by burdensome regulations and an outdated tax code that discouraged growth.
“And so over the past year and a half, the White House and Republicans in Congress have focused on removing obstacles to economic growth.
“We’ve reduced burdensome regulations.
“And in December we passed historic, comprehensive tax-reform legislation.
“Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the tax code was not helping businesses grow and create jobs.
“In fact, it was doing the opposite.
“And that had real consequences for American workers.
“A small business owner struggling to afford the hefty annual tax bill for her business was highly unlikely to be able to hire a new worker or raise wages.
“A larger business struggling to stay competitive in the global marketplace while paying a substantially higher tax rate than its foreign competitors too often had limited funds to expand or increase investment in the United States.
“And so we took action to improve the playing field for American workers by improving the playing field for businesses as well.
“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 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.
“Strong economic growth.
“Better wages and benefits.
“And more opportunities for American workers.
“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in getting the economy going again.
“And I’m going to keep working with my colleagues to expand economic opportunities for Americans even further.”