U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) this week discussed Republicans’ pro-growth policies, including tax reform, which have helped result in the lowest unemployment rate in five decades, wages growing at the fastest rate in a decade, and economic growth above three percent.
Thune’s full remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, before I begin, I just want to take a moment to say how sorry I am that the Senate will be losing Senator Mike Enzi at the end of next year.
“During his 20-plus years in the Senate, Mike has been a leader on a number of issues, including health care and the budget.
“As chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, he oversaw major pension reform.
“And as chairman of the Budget Committee, he was an indispensable part of the effort to comprehensively reform our nation’s outdated tax code and put more money in Americans’ pockets.
“And as always, he was a powerful voice for small businesses during that process.
“Not to mention a powerful voice for the West throughout his career.
“The Senate will be a lesser place without Mike Enzi.
“But he’s earned some more time with his wife, Diana, their three children, and his four grandchildren.
“I’m grateful to have served with Mike.
“And I’m glad that senators still have a little time before his well-deserved retirement to draw on his wisdom and expertise.
“Mr. President, good news about the economy keeps pouring in.
“On Friday, we learned that the economy created an impressive 263,000 new jobs in April.
“Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in half a century.
“The last time unemployment was this low was in 1969.
“Wages are growing at the fastest pace in a decade.
“April marked the ninth straight month that wage growth was at or above 3 percent.
“Economic growth for the first quarter of 2019 was a robust 3.2 percent, smashing expectations.
“Personal income is up.
“Business investment is up.
“And the list goes on.
“And importantly, the benefits of this economic growth are being spread far and wide.
“In fact, it’s blue-collar workers who are seeing some of the biggest benefits.
“As the Wall Street Journal noted on Friday, ‘Believe it or not – and liberals won’t want to admit it—the evidence is that the faster economic growth of the last two years is reducing income inequality.’
“So where did all this growth come from?
“A little over two years ago, at the end of the Obama administration, the outlook wasn’t too rosy.
“American families were struggling.
“The economy was sputtering.
“A historically slow recovery had left some experts predicting that weak economic growth would be the new normal.
“Republicans, however, did not think that we needed to resign ourselves to a future of weak growth.
“We knew that American workers and American businesses were as dynamic and creative as ever.
“But we also knew that burdensome regulations and an outdated tax code were holding our economy back and reducing the opportunities available to workers.
“And so when we took office in 2017, we got right to work on improving our economy in order to improve life for the American people.
“We knew that our economy needed to thrive if American families were going to thrive.
“And we were determined to give Americans access to the jobs, opportunities, and wages they needed for a secure future.
“And so 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 make it easier for businesses to grow and create jobs.
“And now we’re seeing the results:
“Strong job creation, low unemployment, robust economic growth, higher wages, and more.
“And American families are feeling the effects.
“Last week, Gallup reported, and I quote, ‘At the start of 2019, Americans' optimism about their personal finances reached levels not seen in more than 16 years, as 69% expected they would be financially better off in a year. … A majority of Americans, 56%, rate their current financial situation as "excellent" (12%) or "good" (44%) … This overall positive rating has increased 10 percentage points since 2015 and is currently the highest since 2002 … Likewise, the 57% of Americans who now say their overall financial situation is getting better has risen 10 points since 2016 and is at its highest numerical point since 2002.’
“Mr. President, Republicans had one goal with tax reform: make life better for Americans.
“That’s exactly what tax reform is doing.
“Thanks to tax reform, workers have more money in their paychecks.
“They have better access to good jobs, with good wages and good benefits.
“And they have better opportunities for advancement.
“I’m proud that Republican policies are making life better for Americans.
“And we’re not stopping here.
“Republicans will continue to make American workers and American families our priority.
“We’re committed to making sure that every American has access to a secure, prosperous, and hopeful future – which is why I’m hopeful the president will soon be able to close the ongoing trade negotiations and create greater market access for U.S. exports – especially agricultural exports – which will correct trade abuses and kick our economy into an even higher gear.”