Major Progress for the American People
‘[F]rom middle-class Americans’ pocketbooks to the ongoing fight against ISIL, there is more good news than I can begin to recite this morning. I look forward very much to attending the State of the Union tonight and hearing from the president. And on behalf of all the Americans we represent - men and women from coast to coast who are seeing the economy turn around and their country grow stronger before their eyes - I am glad there will be so much to applaud.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the president’s State of the Union address tonight and the benefits Kentuckians across the Commonwealth continue to see from tax reform:
“This evening, President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address. As tens of millions of Americans tune in, he will continue a time-honored tradition by taking stock of the past year and laying out his vision for the future. And for anyone who’s been reading the headlines over the last year and paying attention to the issues that directly impact middle-class families, the state of our union will not come as a surprise.
“Unemployment is low. Consumer confidence is high. The news is packed with all the pay increases, special bonuses, expanded benefits, and new investments that are flowing into American households and communities because of the landmark tax reform law that Congress passed and President Trump signed in December.
“Hundreds of companies have announced that a more competitive tax code is allowing them to quickly ramp up the amount they can invest in their own American workers. This includes some of our country’s largest employers. Walmart is increasing its starting wage for all hourly associates, expanding maternity and parental leave, and giving its own $1,000 bonus to employees. Disney, AT&T, and Bank of America are giving $1,000 tax reform bonuses to more than 100,000 workers each. The list goes on. And it’s not just the big guys who are benefitting.
“Yesterday afternoon, here on the floor, I talked about Verst Logistics in Walton, Kentucky, which paid its full-time workers bonuses as a result of tax reform. I shared the story of a woman who works for Verst. She fought back tears as she explained what this bonus would do for her family. Money had gotten tight around the holidays, so while she and her husband had saved enough to give their five children a merry Christmas, Mom and Dad were planning to go without gifts of their own. But because Congress seized this opportunity to modernize our tax code, she got her very own tax reform bonus. With that extra money, she and her husband were able to buy each other Christmas presents, after all – and enjoy a nice dinner out, to boot.
“I could share these stories all day. I am so proud that Congress and the president teamed up to take money out of Washington’s pocket and put it back in the pockets of the hardworking Americans who earned it. But some of my Democratic colleagues don’t seem to feel that way. They all voted against a law that will raise take-home pay for American families, who have spent a decade struggling not just to get ahead, but oftentimes to stay afloat. And several have made news in recent days by scoffing at these bonuses, pay raises, and new benefits.
“My friends the Democratic Leaders in both the Senate and the House have both used the word ‘crumbs.’ One of their colleagues, former chair of the DNC, said she doesn’t think $1,000 – quote – ‘goes very far for almost anyone.’ A thousand dollars doesn’t go far for anyone? That might be true in New York or San Francisco. It sure isn’t true in Kentucky. And I think taking that argument to most kitchen tables would get you laughed out of the room.
“Of course, immediate raises, bonuses, and worker benefits are far from the whole story. Tax reform will also deliver direct relief to middle-class families across America by cutting their tax rates and doubling the standard deduction. A typical family of four earning the median family income will get to keep more than $2,000 of their own money that they would have otherwise sent to the IRS next year.
“Further, the law repeals Obamacare’s punitive individual mandate tax, and soon many Americans are likely to see lower utility rates as utility companies pass along their savings to consumers. Just yesterday, two major Kentucky utilities asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission for permission to pass $180 million in tax reform savings on to their consumers, which could lower their bills this year.
“And we’re already seeing early signs that tax reform will create an environment where wages will be higher and opportunity will be more abundant for years, even decades, to come. President Trump and Republicans in Congress understand that when you make America a more attractive place to invest and create jobs, you are helping American families and communities.
“We understand that the myth of an ‘us-versus-them’ economy, where employers must lose for workers to win, is nothing more than a divisive political talking point with no basis in economics. That’s why we seized this generational opportunity to provide a twenty-first-century tax code that will give our country a fairer fight with our competitors overseas. And we’re already seeing new factories announced and new investments pouring into our country as a result.
“Tax reform is far from the only way this president and this Congress have gone to bat for the future of our country. We’ve taken a machete to the forest of red tape that the Obama administration left behind. To name just three examples, Congress and the White House have teamed up to roll back regulations that: threatened hundreds of thousands of coal jobs; required states to give grants to Planned Parenthood; and that had needlessly blocked oil exploration in a small portion of federal land in Alaska.
“After the Senate confirmed President Trump’s cabinet, from Secretary Mattis at the Pentagon to Administrator Pruitt at the EPA, these fine officials have notched achievement after achievement for the American people, laying the groundwork for a stronger and safer nation.
“We’ve made major progress for American veterans – like Corporal Matthew Bradford of central Kentucky, a true American hero who will be attending tonight as a guest of the First Lady. Congress has passed and the President has signed laws that will help our veterans access the health care options they need and the employment training programs they deserve. We have much more to do for our heroes, but these first steps are promising.
“We’ve taken big steps in the war against addiction and the scourge of opioids – an issue that is deeply personal for far too many American families.
“And in just his first year in office, the president has begun to transform the federal judiciary. President Trump had more new circuit court judges confirmed in his first year than any prior president, a testimony to the fine quality of the nominees he sends here to the Senate. We’ll vote to confirm another excellent judge later today. And the president rose to the occasion of a Supreme Court vacancy by filling it with a brilliant, experienced jurist in Justice Gorsuch.
“On all these fronts, from middle-class Americans’ pocketbooks to the ongoing fight against ISIL, there is more good news than I can begin to recite this morning. I look forward very much to attending the State of the Union tonight and hearing from the president. And on behalf of all the Americans we represent – men and women from coast to coast who are seeing the economy turn around and their country grow stronger before their eyes – I am glad there will be so much to applaud.”
Related Issues: Congressional Review Act, America's Military, Taxes, Veterans, Economy, Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court, Coal, Infrastructure, Obamacare, Jobs, Tax Reform, Regulations, Energy