WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) this week discussed the growing economy, which has been helped by Republicans’ pro-growth, pro-jobs policies. By removing burdensome regulations and reforming the tax code, the economy has continued to grow – 4.2 percent growth last quarter alone – and the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1969.
Thune also praised Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) leadership during the Senate’s confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and recognized the outstanding work Nikki Haley has done as the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations.
Thune’s speech (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, two years ago, when Republicans took control of the White House as well as Congress, we promised the American people that growing the economy was going to be our number-one priority.
“And we got right to work.
“Under the Obama administration, American workers and businesses faced a lot of obstacles, including burdensome regulations and an outdated tax code that acted as a drag on economic growth.
“And so we immediately focused on removing burdensome regulations.
“And then we focused on developing a historic, comprehensive reform of our tax code, which was signed into law last December.
“Now, the tax code isn’t necessarily the first thing people think of when they think of economic growth.
“But the tax code has a huge effect on our economy.
“It helps determine how much money individuals and families have to spend and save.
“It helps determine whether or not a small business can expand and hire.
“A small business owner facing a huge tax bill is highly unlikely to be able to expand her business or hire a new employee.
“And the tax code helps determine whether large businesses hire, grow, and invest in the United States.
“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.
“And a large business is unlikely to keep jobs and investment in the United States if the tax code makes it vastly more expensive to hire American workers.
“Prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December, our tax code was not helping our economy or American families.
“It was doing the opposite.
“And so we took action.
“We cut tax rates for American families, doubled the child tax credit, and nearly doubled the standard deduction.
“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 competitive disadvantage next to their foreign counterparts.
“And now we’re seeing the results.
“Our economy is thriving.
“The economy grew at a robust 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018.
“The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1969.
“Since 1969, Mr. President.
“In other words, it’s been almost 50 years since the last time unemployment was this low.
“More than 1.8 million jobs have been created since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law.
“Wages are growing at the best rate in years, and incomes are up 4.2 percent.
“Businesses are bringing money back to the United States.
“And business investment is up from an average of 1.8 percent before the 2016 election to an average of 10 percent so far this year.
“Small business optimism is at historic levels.
“Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high.
“And the list goes on.
“Mr. President, that’s a lot of stats, but they basically all boil down to one thing: Life is getting better for American families.
“Incomes are growing.
“Families have access to more jobs and opportunities, and better benefits.
“And that means that fewer families have to live paycheck to paycheck.
“That an unexpected car repair or doctor’s bill is less devastating.
“That it’s easier to afford that family vacation or the fees for piano lessons.
“And that more families have money to save for the kids’ college or their retirement.
“This was the goal, Mr. President.
“Getting the economy thriving again so that American families could thrive.
“And I’m proud that we’re succeeding.
“I’m proud that our policies are making life better for American families.
“And we’re not stopping here.
“We’re going to keep working to secure the gains we’ve made for the long term and make sure that every American has access to a future of security and opportunity.
“Mr. President, I want to take a brief moment to express my gratitude to Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley for his leadership over the past months as we worked to confirm Judge – now Justice – Kavanaugh.
“Every Supreme Court confirmation process is a somewhat arduous affair, but Chairman Grassley had to contend with more than an increased workload.
“He had to contend with Democrat colleagues who did everything they could to delay and disrupt the process and tank Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
“But no matter what tactics Democrats resorted to, from interrupting the confirmation hearing to withholding crucial information, Chairman Grassley stayed above the fray.
“He carried on with what needed to be done, whether that was compiling information from Justice Kavanaugh’s time in the White House or interviewing witnesses.
“He made sure the entire confirmation process was thorough and fair.
“And he ensured that Dr. Ford and Justice Kavanaugh were treated with dignity and respect.
“I’m grateful that we had him at the helm of the Judiciary Committee during this process.
“And I’m grateful that once again, he helped put an outstandingly qualified justice on the Supreme Court.
“Mr. President, I also wanted to take a minute to recognize the outstanding work Nikki Haley has done as the United States’ ambassador to the U.N.
“Ambassador Haley has been a terrific ambassador and a real leader on the president’s foreign policy team.
“She has been a clear, unequivocal voice for the principles our country values.
“And she has been a tough and outspoken critic of the tyrannical regimes that threaten our country and the free world.
“I’m sure the president will choose an excellent replacement, but Nikki Haley is going to be a tough act to follow.
“I wish her all the best as she begins her next chapter.
“She will be missed.”