U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) this week discussed the Republican-led Senate’s accomplishments, highlighting passage of comprehensive tax reform that has led to the creation of over 1 million jobs since it was enacted. In addition to tax reform, Thune also discussed the Senate’s many other achievements to help the American people, including confirming a record number of qualified judges, making the most significant advancements in our military in fifteen years, reforming our veterans’ health care system, and combatting opioid abuse.
Thune’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, the May jobs report came out last Friday, and here are some of the headlines.
“From Bloomberg, ‘U.S. Payrolls Rise 223,000; Jobless Rate Matches 48-Year Low’
“From CNN, ‘Unemployment rate matches lowest point in half a century’
“And from the New York Times, ‘We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are’
“In other words, Mr. President, the May jobs report was more good news for American workers.
“The economy created 223,000 jobs in May.
“The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent – the lowest rate since April 2000.
“That’s right, Mr. President.
“The last time unemployment was this low, the iPod hadn’t even been invented.
“When the Republican-led Senate passed tax reform in December, there were estimates that this historic legislation would create nearly 1 million jobs for the American people.
“Well, Mr. President, the economy has already created more than a million jobs since tax reform was passed, and 3.6 million since President Trump was elected.
“The Republican pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda is working.
“Mr. President, government cannot create prosperity.
“It can’t create the jobs and opportunities Americans need for a secure economic future.
“Only businesses can do that.
“But government can create the conditions for economic prosperity.
“It can make sure that businesses are free to create jobs and opportunities by making sure they’re not weighed down with burdensome taxes and regulations.
“Mr. President, as everyone knows, the economy stagnated during the last administration.
“Recovery from the recession was historically weak.
“Wages were stagnant.
“And opportunities were often few and far between.
“And a big reason for that was the fact that businesses large and small were weighed down by burdensome regulations and an outdated tax code.
“And so when President Trump took office, Republicans and President Trump made reversing our economic decline a priority.
“We rolled back burdensome regulations.
“And in December, we passed a historic reform of our tax code.
“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 when it came time for tax reform, we set out to improve the playing field for American workers by improving the playing field for businesses as well.
“To accomplish that, 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.
“Company after company has announced higher wages.
“Better retirement benefits.
“A recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers reported that 77 percent of manufacturers plan to increase hiring as a result of tax reform.
“72 percent plan to increase wages or benefits.
“And 86 percent report they plan to increase investments – which means new jobs and opportunities for workers.
“Meanwhile, a recent survey from the National Federation of Independent Business reports that 75 percent of small business owners think that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have a positive effect on their businesses.
“Mr. President, the Republican economic agenda is working.
“And Republicans are going to keep working to ensure that American businesses can thrive and that American workers have access to the jobs and opportunities they need for long-term economic security.
“And while we’re doing that, we’re also going to continue to focus on the rest of the work the American people elected us to do.
“As I’ve said before, Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time.
“And so while we’ve been laser-focused on removing obstacles to economic growth and job creation, we’ve also accomplished a lot of other things so far this Congress.
“By the end of the Obama administration, our nation’s military was facing a serious readiness shortfall.
“So this year, we made the most significant investment in our military in 15 years.
“And we’re going to continue to make sure that the men and women of our military have the resources they need to meet and defeat the threats of the 21st century.
“We recently passed legislation that makes much-needed reforms to ensure that our veterans have access to the health care they need, when and where they need it.
“We also took action to preserve health care for children in need by enacting the longest extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in history.
“And we repealed Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate, which forced many Americans to buy health insurance they didn’t want or couldn’t afford.
“We’ve passed legislation to fight sex trafficking.
“To combat opioid abuse.
“To help community banks.
“To increase school safety.
“To keep energy affordable.
“And, of course, we’ve confirmed a number of highly qualified judges to fill vacancies in our judicial system.
“Mr. President, Republicans are working to honor the trust the American people placed in us.
“We’re fighting to make life better for hardworking Americans.
“We’ve accomplished a lot so far this Congress.
“But we know there’s a lot more work to be done.“And we are up to the challenge.”