U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the progress that has been made for American families thanks to Republicans’ pro-growth policies like tax reform. Republicans have also helped American families by passing the longest extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the program’s history, clean-energy legislation, a farm bill to help America’s farmers and ranchers, and legislation to combat the opioid epidemic, to name a few, and they’re focused on continuing to build on these successes.
Thune’s full remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, when Republicans took office at the beginning of the 115th Congress, we had one goal in mind – make life better for American families.
“We knew that American families were struggling.
“Recovery from the Great Recession was long and slow.
“Economic growth was sluggish.
“Wages were stagnant.
“Too many families were living paycheck to paycheck.
“American families needed relief, and Republicans were determined to give it to them.
“That’s why we made getting our economy going again a priority.
“We knew that our economy needed to do a lot better if American families were going to start doing better.
“A strong economy is the key to giving Americans access to the jobs, wages, and opportunities they need to thrive.
“And so we took action.
“We eliminated burdensome regulations that were acting as a drag on economic growth.
“And we passed a historic reform of our tax code to put more money in Americans’ pockets and to get our economy going again.
“We cut tax rates and doubled the child tax credit, and in 2018 the average family of four saw a tax cut of more than $2,000.
“We lowered tax rates for businesses, expanded business owners’ ability to invest in their operations and their workers, and made American businesses more competitive in the global economy.
“And we’re seeing the results.
“Job creation is up.
“Wages are growing at the fastest pace in a decade.
“Personal income is up.
“Unemployment is at its lowest level in 50 years.
“Tax reform is delivering bigger paychecks, more opportunities, and a better quality of life for American workers.
“Mr. President, tax reform might be our biggest achievement of the 115th Congress.
“But it’s far from the only thing we did to make life better for American families.
“We also enacted legislation to provide better education and training to American workers.
“We passed multibillion-dollar, bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic, which has devastated families and communities across the United States.
“We passed the longest extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the program’s history.
“We passed legislation to provide hope to terminally ill patients by giving them access to experimental treatments.
“We passed bipartisan clean-energy legislation.
“We passed a farm bill to support our nation’s farmers and ranchers and protect our environment.
“But there’s more work to be done.
“And Republicans are working right now to develop and pass legislation to continue to address the cost of living and improve Americans’ quality of life.
“We’re committed to making tax relief for American families permanent.
“We’re also committed to ensuring that the economic progress we’ve made sticks around for the long term.
“We’re working to open new markets for American goods and services so that American workers and American businesses can thrive.
“One priority is passing the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement, which would grow our economy and create 176,000 new jobs.
“Republicans are also committed to making health care more affordable.
“We want to give Americans more – and more affordable – insurance options.
“We’re working on legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and increase access to lower-cost generics.
“And we’re focused on developing solutions that will bring greater clarity to health care costs and address so-called surprise billing.
“You shouldn’t go to an in-network hospital expecting to pay one thing and then get an unexpected – and enormous – bill weeks later because it wasn’t disclosed to you that the doctor you saw wasn’t in your insurance network.
“Another challenge facing American families is the cost of education.
“Republicans are currently working on legislation to make it easier to apply for federal student aid and to pay back student loans.
“We will also continue to support career and technical education.
“And we will work to further increase the usefulness of 529 savings plans, to help families plan for and meet educational expenses.
“One bright spot for family budgets over the past few years has been energy costs.
“Republican policies have helped make energy more affordable, and we’re committed to keeping Americans’ energy bills reasonable by supporting responsible energy development.
“We’re also committed to continuing our work to keep our air clean and our environment healthy.
“We currently have multiple bills in the pipeline to promote clean energy technologies, with more to come.
“There are a lot of other Republican plans I could talk about, Mr. President – everything from making it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans, to ensuring that rural communities enjoy equal access to broadband services and the economic opportunities they bring.
“One thing the American people can count on is that Republicans are working every day to improve Americans’ quality of life.
“Our proposals may not always make it into the news – a lot of them don’t have catchy names, like ‘the Green New Deal,’ and they don’t make pie-in-the-sky promises.
“But unlike the so-called Green New Deal, our plans are actually achievable, and they would actually make life better for American families.
“I’m proud that more families are thriving today thanks to tax reform and other Republican policies.
“And Republicans will continue to work every day to make sure that life continues to improve for the American people.”