THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, Louisiana!
It is great to be back, and it is my great honor to bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America -- the man Louisiana voted for overwhelmingly last fall -- President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Thank you all for coming out today. You know, I just spoke to the President. He arrived in Brussels just a few short hours ago, after a historic meeting with Pope Francis in Rome. He's arrived in Europe now to reaffirm our commitment to NATO. Earlier this week, he was in Saudi Arabia across the Middle East, visited our most cherished ally Israel. And all along the way, he's been strengthening relationships and alliances throughout the world.
The American people are witnessing the strong leadership of President Trump on the world stage, and the world is seeing that President Donald Trump is stepping into the role of leader of the free world, and he is leading for America. (Applause.)
Now, before I continue, allow me to take a moment to just speak a few words about the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester, England, this past Monday night.
? Our hearts break for the families of the victims and the injured, and they are all in our prayers. And let me say with deep conviction, the United States stands in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom in their loss, and in our shared determination to protect our people and rid the world of the threat of terrorist violence. (Applause.)
Thank you for letting me share that. It is great to be back in the Pelican State. And I thank you all for coming out on a busy afternoon. And everybody keeps telling me the weather isn't always like this in Louisiana. (Laughter.) So thanks for sparing such a beautiful day.
To Administrator Verma, thank you for that kind introduction, thank you for your leadership at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Let me also like to thank Congressman Garret Graves for joining us, and for representing Louisiana with such conservative principle in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank the whole team here at Cajun Industries, Todd Grigsby and the family for hosting us here today. For nearly 45 years, Cajun Industries has built Louisiana, and every day you're building the American Dream for families all across this region. President Trump and I couldn't be more proud of all that you've accomplished and by your hospitality today. So give a big round of applause, would you, for Cajun Industries and all the great team that's here? (Applause.)
Now I'm sure one of the secrets of the success of this company is they know how to make a budget work, and so does President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Just yesterday, our administration unveiled the President's first budget, and it's exactly what Louisiana elected him to do.
The President's plan puts America back on a path to fiscal responsibility. In fact, the President's budget balances the federal budget in the next 10 years. (Applause.)
And in this time of widening threats and new provocations, President Trump made it a priority in this budget. And we will with his support and with the strong support of your representatives in Washington -- we will rebuild our military. We will restore the arsenal of democracy, and we will give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training they need to accomplish their mission defending our nation and come home safe. (Applause.)
In this recent budget, President Donald Trump just proposed one of the largest increases in defense spending since the days of President Ronald Reagan. We're committed to making the strongest fighting force in world even stronger still.
But it's not just about our military. This President is also keeping his promise on domestic security. We're providing all new resources to strengthen our borders, enforce our laws. Even as we speak this administration, working with local law enforcement -- are taking gang members, drug dealers, and criminal illegal aliens off the streets of Louisiana and off the streets of America. (Applause.)
And in the budget we just proposed, President Donald Trump is requesting the resources we'll need to build a wall. (Applause.)
? Thanks to the President's leadership I'm pleased to report already -- illegal crossings at our southern border are already down more than 70 percent since January 1st of this year. (Applause.)
And let me also say President Trump is also standing with renewed vigor for those who keep our families and our communities safe, the brave men and women who wear the uniform of law enforcement. (Applause.)
I want to share with you that America watched with horror last year as three police officers were brutally gunned down and three more were grievously injured here in Baton Rouge. And I want to assure you President Donald Trump beginning with our law enforcement memorial last Monday is stepping forward, and we will restore the tradition of respect that is due to all the men and women of law enforcement in this nation. (Applause.)
Just last week, at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, where we mourned the fallen from Baton Rouge, President Trump declared clearly that America today and always stands strong with the men and women on the Thin Blue Line. There's an awful lot of members of law enforcement here today making this event possible and keeping us all safe. Would you join me in just giving a round of applause for the men and women serving in law enforcement at every level who are with us today? (Applause.)
I know our President is going to fight every day to protect those who protect us, and we will make America safe again.
President Donald Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people, but he knows that security at the end of the day is the foundation for our quality of life and a foundation for the prosperity that the American people all aspire to. And President Trump I promise you is fighting every day to make America prosperous again and renew the prosperity of the American people in our time. (Applause.)
You know, literally since the outset of this administration, the President has had a three-part agenda: Jobs, jobs, and jobs. (Applause.)
And I can tell you since day one, the President has been taking decisive action to put America back to work and get our economy moving again. He ordered every agency in Washington, D.C., for instance, to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any red tape on businesses large and small across America. (Applause.)
The President is slashing so much red tape he's been breaking records. He's eliminated rules and mandates that have cost the American economy as much as $18 billion every year.
And the President is fighting every day for American energy, so important here in the great state of Louisiana. (Applause.)
The President knows that our energy -- oil and gas in particular -- are the lifeblood not only of Louisiana but of America. That's why he's been breaking down barriers standing in the way of offshore drilling, and President Trump approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines -- (applause) -- putting America on a path to energy independence.
And the President's leadership is already making a remarkable difference in the American economy. Businesses are responding to the President's call to Buy American and Hire American.
You may not have read this in the newspaper, but the truth is more than 700,000 new American jobs have been created by businesses large and small just this year alone. (Applause.)
Business after business has announced record investment in American workers -- billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, optimism is sweeping America. The American economy is roaring back under the leadership of President Trump. (Applause.)
Small businesses like those so well represented here haven't been this confident in a decade. Manufacturers haven't been this optimistic in more than 20 years. From coast to coast, the American people know that President Trump has turned America around.
But as Louisiana knows, one of the most important things we need to do to create jobs and restore boundless opportunity in America is to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Applause.)
And I got good news for you: Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and to strong support in the Congress, the Obamacare nightmare is about to end. (Applause.)
I just heard once again firsthand from Todd and all the small-business owners who gathered for a conversation earlier about the burden that Obamacare is placing on job creators like Cajun Industries and all of those that are with us today.
Every day, you see another grim reminder that Obamacare is a burden on the American people too. We all remember all the promises that were made to pass Obamacare, right? They said if you like your doctor you can keep them -- not true. They said if you like your health insurance you could keep it -- not true. We were told that health insurance costs would go down -- not true.
That's why President Trump is showing the numbers that the last administration never wanted the American people to see, I guess. According to a new study published just last night by the Department of Health and Human Services, it's now official, Obamacare, in the facts, has caused premiums to skyrocket across the America. Here are the numbers. This is fresh out from Health and Human Services yesterday. The average premium across this country has actually doubled under Obamacare -- more than 100 percent increase in only four years.
Here in Louisiana, Obamacare premiums have spiked by nearly 125 percent. The average plan here in the Pelican State costs more than $3,500 more than it did just a few short years ago. I heard one story after another from the small-business owners that were just gathered here. These are the real numbers that have been released by our administration, and they're numbers that the past administration just never would release to the public.
And the sad fact is, as Seema Verma just said, that politicians in Washington, D.C., who gave us this failed policy in 2010, are refusing to even lift a finger to bring relief to hurting families and American businesses.
Louisiana knows the truth -- every day Obamacare survives is another day the American economy and American families struggle.
But let me make you a promise: Help is on the way, Louisiana. (Applause.)
Last month, thanks to the leadership of our President and the support of Congressman Graves and every single Republican from Louisiana in the House of Representatives, Congress in the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, which is the first step to keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. And they should be commended. (Applause.)
The bill that passed the House is the right bill to start the fix of American health care. It holds back Obamacare's mandates on the American people by literally repealing the taxes and penalties at the heart of Obamacare. It gives working families more choices with expanded health savings accounts and a new tax credit to help buy the insurance at a price that you can afford.
And to all the parents that are here today, just know that this bill also to keep your kids on your plans till they turn 26, and the bill also ensures -- and let's be clear on this -- at the President's insistence, the legislation that passed the House of Representatives ensures that Americans with preexisting conditions will have access to the coverage and care they need. No exceptions. (Applause.)
But the American Health Care Act also gives states like Louisiana the freedom and the flexibility they need with Medicaid to help your most vulnerable in the way that's best for you; because state-based solutions are the best way to give better coverage, better health care, and a better future for the people of the Pelican State. Let's let Louisiana develop Louisiana solutions for the people of this state. (Applause.)
The American Health Care Act starts the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare with a health-care system that will actually work. But we need Louisiana's help to get it across the finish line.
I really am grateful to say again, every Republican in Louisiana's congressional delegation voted to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Applause.) I hope you'll call -- I hope you'll leave here today and call your congressman a call and thank them, thank them for their leadership and their principled stand.
But I'd also suggest that you might call your two Republican senators and tell them it's time for the Senate to step up and do their part to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Applause.)
We're counting on Senator Cassidy and we're counting on Senator Kennedy to keep their promise to the American people and pass this legislation to bring Obamacare to an end. (Applause.)
With your senators' support, I know that in the months ahead we'll pass this legislation and begin the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare and finally giving the American people the kind of healthcare they deserve built on American principles of competition and state-based flexibility and reform. (Applause.)
And once we repeal and replace Obamacare, we'll get to the rest of the President's agenda. In case Cajun Industries didn't notice, in case the rest of you didn't notice, you actually elected a builder to be President of the United States of America, and Donald Trump, your President, is going to rebuild the infrastructure of this country.
President Trump is committed to make historic investments in American infrastructure to ensure that we have the best roads, the best bridges, the best highways, airports, and the best future we could possibly imagine.
And the President is going to continue to slash through red tape, rein in unelected bureaucrats so they can't cripple Louisiana's economy from the comfort of those taxpayer-funded metal desks in Washington, D.C.
And get ready, come this summer, we're going to roll our sleeves up, we're going to work with the House and the Senate, and we're going to pass the most significant tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan and one of the largest tax cuts in American history. (Applause.)
With the President's leadership, we're going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. Also we're going to reform the tax code. There's an old joke that the American tax code is 10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news. (Laughter.) We're going to change that.
Rest assured, the President is going make the tax code simpler, flatter, and fairer for everyone. He's going to put more money in your pockets, keep it out of the hands of wasteful bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.
And this President also knows the time has come to make sure that businesses here in Louisiana, businesses across America have a competitive business tax rate to be able to create jobs and keep jobs here in America. And we're going to slash the business rate to 15 percent. (Applause.)
By lowering the corporate tax rate, which today is one of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world -- by lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, we're going to make American businesses more competitive. We're going to make it more possible for businesses to reinvest in ways that will create jobs and also have an opportunity to increase wages for all the hardworking people at their companies today.
It's the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to a President who is so committed to restoring an America of prosperity and freedom and security. And no matter what the media and the establishment in Washington, D.C. may be focused on at any given moment, let me assure of you this: President Trump and I will never stop fighting for the issues that matter most to the American people -- good jobs, safe streets, national security and a boundless American future. (Applause.)
I think we've reached a pivotal moment in the life of this nation. I really do. And in this moment, President Trump and I need the support of every freedom-loving American -- all of you. (Applause.) Everyone who believes that we can be strong again, everyone who believes we can be prosperous again, we need you to stand up and we need you to speak out.
From this day forward, I would offer to you that your President, our entire administration need every ounce of your energy and enthusiasm, the enthusiasm that I see in this crowd today. Your conviction and your passion. And we might need just one more thing in these days if you're of a mind to bend the knee and bow the head from time to time. (Applause.)
But in these challenging times of widening threats and provocations abroad, unknowable threats that can strike in an instant, as we saw this week in our ally England, in these times of a struggling economy, the most powerful economy on Earth that seems to have been unable to get back up, stand up, and lead the world, the truth is that now is the time when we could use your prayers.
And I don't say so much for an agenda. I think often of what Abraham Lincoln said in his time. He was asked if he thought that God was on the Union's side. And Lincoln said, I rather concern myself more with whether we're on God's side than whether God is on our side. (Applause.)
So just pray for America. Pray for our country. The leadership that the people of this world are seeing as the President travels across the Middle East and now in Europe is so essential. We are in every sense a beacon of hope and freedom. And so when America is strong, when America is secure, the world is safer. The world is more prosperous. And freedom-loving people around the world are better for it.
So I encourage you to remember us in those quiet times. And when you pray, pray with confidence. Because I truly do believe those ancient words spoken so long ago are as true today as they were then that, if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, he'll do like he's always done in the long and storied history of this great nation, he'll hear from Heaven and he'll heal our land. (Applause.) This one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
? So thank you all for being here today. I've got to get back to Washington, D.C. because time is a wasting. (Laughter.) But thank you for being here. Thanks for letting your voice be heard. And I want to make you a promise. With your help, with your support, with the strong support of our great Republican leadership in the House and in the Senate, and with God's help, we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.
Thank you all very much. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)