Yesterday, we marked National Military Appreciation Month by welcoming Honor Flight veterans, who fought on the front lines of freedom in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, to the White House. Our service members served their country in a way and at a time that challenged each one of them to step up the perseveration of our way of life. With America’s armed forces in the vanguard, the United States was able to stand as a beacon for freedom. Our nation marshaled every ounce of our strength to save freedom across the Atlantic, across the Pacific, and across the very world. The sons and daughters of America, and, indeed, all who call themselves free will remember their service for eternity, until the world stops turning. The old book says, if you owe debts, pay debts. If honor, then honor. If respect, then respect. These men and women are among the best of us. And on behalf of their Commander-in-Chief, we say thanks and salute their service. But our service members know that they have more than just our thanks. Under President Donald Trump, America’s armed forces have a leader – a tireless defender of our American military and our veterans. The President is fighting every single day to keep America safe and keep our promises to those who have served in the uniform of the United States. The President has said that our veterans deserve the finest care America can provide. Just over a week ago, President Trump signed an executive order to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs is as efficient, effective, and accountable as any great healthcare provider in America. And last month, President Trump signed into law the Veterans Choice Act to give our heroes the choices they deserve for world-class healthcare. He also signed into law legislation that, in the balance of this fiscal year, will increase defense spending by $21 billion – the biggest investment in military readiness in nearly a decade. Thanks to President Trump’s strong leadership, national defense is now coming first. And, we were able to increase defense spending with the largest investment in years without requiring an additional increase in domestic spending, putting an additional burden on taxpayers. That's real progress for taxpayers and our military. As the proud father of an American service member, it’s the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to a President who is committed to the men and women of our armed forces, to their families, and to our veterans. In this administration, we will not rest and will not relent until we give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources they need to accomplish their mission, defend our nation, and come home safe. We're going to see our veterans to make sure that the promises that they earned in uniform are kept by the American people. And we're never going to hesitate to honor those who’ve served, and to pay a debt of honor and gratitude to all who in their moment, in their time said, yes, to America. And because they said, yes, freedom prevails to this day.
Yesterday, the President welcomed advocates, administrators, teachers, parents, and students to the White House to mark a milestone for school choice. This week, Congress is poised to pass legislation that President Trump will sign into law, a spending bill that will give new life and funding to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program – the only federally funded voucher program in the nation and a case study in school-choice success. Since its creation in 2004, the Opportunity Scholarship Program has given parents and families hope by giving them a pathway to take their children out of failing public schools and put them in a private school instead. Over the past 13 years, nearly 20,000 students have applied to the program, and more than 7,500 students have been accepted. And more than 1,150 children are participating in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program at this very moment – including many of the students who joined us today. It’s no surprise why this program is so wildly popular. While only 69% of D.C. public-school students graduated from high school last year, a stunning 98% of scholarship recipients walked across the stage to receive their diploma. And 86% of those graduates were accepted into college to continue their education and to continue climbing the ladder of opportunity. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program proves that school choice works. President Trump could not be more proud to extend this crucial program. But his commitment to school choice doesn’t end there. On January 26th, only a few days after we took office, President Trump declared National School Choice Week for 2017. He called on federal and state lawmakers to expand school choice for “millions of additional students.” And now he’s fighting every day to make this vision a reality. President Trump believes that a child’s future shouldn’t be determined by his or her parents’ income or area code. And the next generation shouldn’t be trapped in a broken system that puts the status quo ahead of students’ success. Rest assured, President Trump will work tirelessly to ensure that wherever an American child goes to school – whether it’s a public school, a private school, a parochial school, a charter school, or at home – that they go to a great school and get a world-class education. Yesterday, we celebrated a historic achievement – but I know that it’s only the first of many. Under President Donald Trump, we are entering a new era of opportunity, choice, and excellence in America’s educational system – and our nation’s children will reap the rewards for generations to come.
Today I had the privilege to celebrate National Small Business Week with the Small Business Administration and small business owners from all across America. Since 1963, the White House has honored America’s small businesses by marking this National Small Business Week and recognizing the tremendous contributions that small businesses make to our country every single day. Just this weekend, President Trump declared that “small business owners embody the American pioneering spirit and remind us that determination can turn aspiration into achievement.” I know firsthand how true that statement is. I grew up in a small business family in a small town in Columbus, Indiana. I went to work at my father’s gas station when I was only 14 years of age. And as the world knows, President Trump grew up in a family business, too. We both know the sacrifices that are required to make a business work. And we know that when small business is strong, America is strong. A stunning 99.7 percent of all American businesses are small businesses. And no fewer than 57 million Americans work for small businesses – nearly half of all private-sector jobs in the United States. Our economy, from coast to coast, depends every day on small businesses. President Donald Trump wants to help them become stronger and more successful than ever – because this President is the best friend that America’s small businesses will ever have. On Day One, President Trump went right to work picking a world-class cabinet full of business leaders who know what small businesses need to succeed. He has signed more bills cutting job-killing regulation than any President in American history. And he’s instructed every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new ones. President Trump authorized the Keystone and Dakota pipelines to protect America’s energy future. We’re cutting back the mandates and rules that are raising energy costs and making it harder for small businesses to grow and get ahead. No matter where you look, President Trump has taken decisive action to get government out of your way – so that America’s small businesses can do what they do best – innovate, create jobs, and grow. Just last week, President Trump laid out his plan for one of the biggest tax cuts in American history. We’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms. We’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare – to end its burden on America’s job creators and to give the American people the low-cost, world-class health care they deserve. We’re going to keep slashing through red tape and rein in unelected bureaucrats so they can’t cripple the economy from the comfort of their taxpayer-funded desks. We’re going to roll back Dodd-Frank so that small businesses have full access to the best financial system in the world. And we’re going to pass an infrastructure package so that America has the best roads, the best bridges, the best highways, the best airports, and the best future we’ve ever had. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’re going to do all this and more – so that every small business, and anyone who dreams of someday starting a small business, has the best shot at success. This week we celebrate all that small businesses have achieved, and all that they do for America every single day. I have faith that under President Donald Trump, America’s small businesses will continue to lead the way – to drive our economy and foster a brighter future for their communities and our country – just as they always have.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something big. President Trump has made tax reform a priority, and we have a Republican Congress that wants to get it done. This is something that Democrats should support too because it’s good for the American people. The President is going to seize this opportunity by leading the most significant tax reform legislation since 1986 – and one of the biggest tax cuts in American history. The President has focused on three things since his campaign: job creation, economic growth, and helping low and middle-income families who have been left behind by this economy. He understands that there are a lot of people in this country that feel like they work hard and still can’t get ahead. They are sick of turning their paychecks over to Washington and having no idea how their tax dollars are spent. They are frustrated by a tax code that is so complicated that they can’t even do their own taxes. That’s why tax reform is such a big priority for this President. He cares about making the economy work better for the American people. We are going to cut taxes for businesses to make them competitive, and we are going to cut taxes for the American people – especially low and middle-income families. In 1935, we had a one-page tax form consisting of 34 lines and two pages of instructions. Today, the basic 1040 form has 79 lines and 211 pages of instructions. Instead of a single tax form, the IRS now has 199 tax forms on the individual side of the tax code alone. Taxpayers spend nearly 7 billion hours complying with the tax code each year, and nearly 90% of taxpayers need help filing their taxes. We are going to cut taxes and simplify the tax code by taking the current 7 tax brackets we have today and reducing them to only three brackets: 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent. We are going to double the standard deduction so that a married couple won’t pay any taxes on the first $24,000 of income they earn. So in essence, we are creating a 0 percent tax rate for the first $24,000 that a couple earns. The larger standard deduction also leads to simplification because far fewer taxpayers will need to itemize, which means their tax form can go back to that one simple page. Families in this country will also benefit from tax relief to help them with child and dependent care expenses. We are going to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The AMT creates significant complications and burdens by requiring taxpayers to do their taxes twice to see which is higher. That makes no sense; we should have one simple tax code. Job creation and economic growth is the top priority for this Administration, and nothing drives economic growth like capital investment. Therefore, we are going to return the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20 percent by repealing the harmful 3.8 percent Obamacare tax. That tax has been a direct hit on investment income and small business owners. We are going to repeal the death tax. The threat of being hit by the death tax leads small business owners and farmers in this country to waste countless hours and resources on complicated estate planning to make sure their children aren’t hit with a huge tax when they die. No one wants their children to have to sell the family business to pay an unfair tax. We are going to eliminate most of the tax breaks that mainly benefit high-income individuals. Home ownership, charitable giving, and retirement savings will be protected – but other tax benefits will be eliminated. This is not going to be easy. Doing big things never is. But one thing is for certain: I would not bet against this President. He will get this done for the American people. Gary Cohn is the chief economic advisor to President Donald J. Trump and Director of the National Economic Council
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good morning. AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Good morning. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Selamat pagi. (Laughter.) Vice President Kalla, thank you. Thank you for joining us this morning. Thank you for your kindness and your hospitality. It was an honor to meet with you yesterday to discuss the economic partnership between the United States and Indonesia. I look forward to forging a strong relationship with you in the years ahead for the benefit of both of our nations. Thank you again. (Applause.) And thank you all for being here today — Ambassador Joe Donovan, Minister Ignatius Jonan, Brian Arnold, members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, members of the Kadin, distinguished leaders of the business community, honored guests. It is my great honor to be here in Indonesia today on my first trip to Southeast Asia as Vice President of the United States of America. I just spoke to the President earlier this morning, and I bring greetings from the President of the United States of America to all those gathered here and to the people of Indonesia, President Donald Trump. Before I go any further, let me take a moment to address the terrorist attack that happened in Paris yesterday. This is just the latest reminder that terrorism can strike anywhere at any time — something that the people of Indonesia and the United States know all too well. As President Trump said yesterday in the face of this great evil, “We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant. Today, the people of Paris have our condolences and our prayers. The people of France are on our hearts today. And the people of Indonesia can be confident in the wake of this latest attack: We will not relent in our effort to end terrorism and the threat it presents to both of our peoples, and I pledge to you our continued cooperation against terrorism in the uncertain days in which we live Thank you for letting me address that issue first. But let me also, on a lighter note, let me say it is a particular honor for me to be here on Kartini Day. (Applause.) Kartini was a pioneer of the women’s movement here in Indonesia, and her example that has inspired Women’s Emancipation Day is an inspiration not only to this region, but to the wider world. It’s heartening to see Indonesia’s commitment to empowering women through education and to ensuring that they have the opportunity to lend their voices and their talents to building Indonesia’s future. In fact, there are three great examples in the room and more that are worth mentioning on this Kartini Day. I’ve had the great privilege to spend time with your Foreign Minister Retno — (applause) — who I believe will be visiting Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks, and we look forward to continued productive discussions. Also I just finished conversations this morning with two of the most prominent women in Indonesia, speaking about expanding and strengthening our relationship between our two countries — Mari Elka Pangestu, the former minister of trade and minister of — economy. (Applause.) Thank you, Mari. And the vice chair of Kadin and the CEO of Sintesa Corporation, the distinguished Shinta Kamdami. Shinta is here, thank you so much. (Applause.) Would everyone join me in recognizing these and every other successful woman who is leading in public and private life on this Kartini Day? (Applause.) Yesterday morning on President Trump’s behalf, I had the great privilege to meet with President Joko Widodo, my friend Jokowi, to reaffirm the United States’ enduring commitment to our strategic partnership with Indonesia. We had a frank and open conversation. We discussed how our nations — the second- and third-largest democracies in the world — can further strengthen our partnership for our mutual benefit, a point I reiterated in my afternoon meeting with Vice President Kalla and several government ministers. And yesterday I met with ASEAN Secretary General Minh and the permanent representatives as a sign of the United States’ strategic partnership with ASEAN and our steadfast commitment to the Asia Pacific as a whole. It was my privilege in that moment to inform the Secretary General and the permanent representatives that President Donald Trump will attend the U.S.-ASEAN Summit, the East Asia Summit, and the APEC Leaders Meeting in Vietnam and the Philippines this November. (Applause.) I hope you all see this as what it is — a testament of the tremendous value that President Trump places on this vitally important region of the world. Our history here stretches back for generations, and our shared past is the foundation of our shared future, a future of security and prosperity for all our nations and the world. And the United States’ economic relationship with Indonesia is central to that future. As the crossroads of the Asia Pacific, Indonesia has a long-shared, strong commercial bond with the United States and our business community. American companies have done business in Indonesia for decades. And American products and services have greatly contributed to Indonesia’s economic development and quality of life in recent years. And the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia has been there every step of the way. Since 1971, the American Chamber of Commerce, AMCHAM, in Indonesia, has brought together U.S. and Indonesian companies to invest in this country and invest in our shared future. Today AMCHAM boasts more than 250 business members, and your hard work has helped to strengthen the relationship between the United States, Indonesia, and the broader Southeast Asia region. And the same goes to all the businesses that are so well represented here today, companies like Microsoft, Coca-Cola, JPMorgan Chase, Freeport, and really every business here. You've done yeoman’s work promoting trade and economic growth on both sides of the Pacific. Your businesses create jobs, drive innovation, and open up opportunity in both of our countries. And thanks in no small part to your hard work, the stage is set for an even stronger partnership between the United States, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia. The truth is American companies see tremendous potential throughout this region. Across all 10 members of ASEAN, of which Indonesia is the heart, the United States exports more than $100 billion a year in goods and services, supporting nearly 550,000 jobs back in the United States. And combined ASEAN’s member nations are the top destination in Asia for U.S. investment. At nearly $274 billion, the investments here are more than the investments in China, India, and Japan combined. These numbers show the incredible — thank you — that's a very impressive number. (Applause.) This incredible economic bond is testament in these numbers to the bond between the United States and Southeast Asia. And today on President Trump’s behalf, I have the honor to be here — along with Vice President Kalla and with American and Indonesian businesses — as they sign historic agreements that will draw our nations even closer together to the benefit of jobs and opportunities for both of our peoples. All told these companies are signing no fewer than 11 major deals worth more than $10 billion, and it’s happening today. (Applause.) From Lockheed Martin upgrading Indonesia’s air force, to GE and Applied Materials building electronic infrastructure, to ExxonMobil’s sale of liquefied natural gas, these deals represent the tremendous excitement that American companies feel about opportunities here in Indonesia. President Trump and I are grateful — grateful to these businesses. This is truly a historic day for the U.S.-Indonesia partnership, but the best is yet to come. Would everyone please join me in thanking these pillars of prosperity for the steps that they're taking today to create jobs and opportunities on both of our countries? (Applause.) Despite the big announcements today, the truth is the United States and Indonesia can do much more, we believe, to improve our trade relationship. Last year our two-way trade with Indonesia totaled about $30 billion, but American exports have actually fallen by more than 30 percent in the last four years. And it’s not for lack of trying — whether its extending electricity to communities that lack it, or building infrastructure, connecting Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, American businesses are ready and willing to drive Indonesia’s growth to an even greater extent. As President Jokowi and I discussed yesterday, we can and will do more to expand commerce and opportunity between Indonesia and the United States. Our goal is simple. We seek trade with Indonesia that is both free and fair. We seek to create a win-win trading relationship for both of our nations and all of our people. (Applause.) To that end, we will work President Jokowi to reduce barriers to trade and investment and to create a truly level playing field where all our businesses have equal opportunity to market access. As many of you know, U.S. companies face many barriers and difficulties in the Indonesia market. These include intellectual property challenges, the lack of transparency, or requirements to manufacture, or include local content before being able to sell products to the Indonesian market. Just a few examples. While we appreciate President Jokowi’s efforts to undertake economic reforms, especially easing business regulations, the truth is, I say respectfully, there’s much more that must be done to improve the business and investment climate in Indonesia. And with all of your help today, we're committed to helping to support that. As members of the business community, you can help us identify the barriers we need to break down, the areas where we can make the most progress for our nation’s mutual benefit. President Trump and I value your continued input on these issues, and we look forward to working with each one of you as we move forward to a system that maximizes jobs, growth, and a brighter future for Indonesia and the United States of America. (Applause.) The truth is that a stronger American economy means a stronger economy for Indonesia, as well, and for all of our trading partners. The United States is the driver of global growth, and under President Donald Trump, we're going to be driving global growth like never before. I promise you. (Applause.) President Trump and our administration are working around the clock to pass an agenda of lower taxes, less regulation, better infrastructure, and a renewed focus on American energy. I’m sure the businesses gathered here — from America will be glad to know that tax reform is going to be one of our top priorities. I don't have to tell you how the American tax code harms the business community at home and abroad. Our corporate tax rate is actually one of the highest in the developed world. It’s 10 percent higher than the tax rate here in Indonesia. President Trump has a plan to slash the corporate tax rate, reform the tax code to make it simpler, flatter, and fairer. And rest assured, our tax reform plan will make the strongest economy in the world stronger still, and that will benefit all of the businesses that are represented here today. The same is true of President Trump’s decisive action to cut through regulations and red tape that have been strangling American enterprise and companies that do business in our country. The President has already ordered every agency in Washington, D.C. to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any new ones. (Applause.) And President Trump has already signed a dozen bills turning back the last administration’s burdensome mandates, and he’ll continue to work Congress, as we slash through red tape. Make no mistake about it, under President Donald Trump, the era of over-regulation and over-taxation is over. A new era of jobs and growth in the American economy has begun, and it will benefit America first, but it will benefit a growing economy will all of our trading partners, including Indonesia. (Applause.) Now, these are only a few of the President’s policies. I could go on today, but I won’t. I appreciate the feedback I received from so many of you at our roundtable about what our administration could continue to do to promote growth and opportunity. But rest assured, President Trump’s agenda is going to renew America’s reputation as the premier investment destination in the world to the benefit of our people and to the benefit of all with whom we do business. Now, I don't need to tell all of you in this nation of Islands that President John F. Kennedy was right that a rising tide will lift all boats. And as America grows, all of our partners, including Indonesia, will grow with us. (Applause.) Indonesia and Southeast Asia are vitally important to America’s economic future, and in the United States you have no better partner and no better friend. Together with Indonesia and with all the businesses represented here, we're going to work to deepen our bond and build on the foundation we stand on today. I’ll leave Indonesia in a just a few hours. As I do, I’ll depart here deeply impressed by everything that I’ve seen. Indonesia’s commitment to freedom, the rule of law, to human rights, and religious diversity has made a profound impact on me and my wife and our two daughters. Just yesterday I had the honor and the privilege to visit Indonesia’s national mosque, where the grand imam guided me and my family on a tour of that beautiful place. As I know Vice President Kalla, as the chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, would agree, Indonesia’s tradition of moderate Islam is an inspiration to the world. As we stood in that courtyard, the grand imam pointed to the spires of the Catholic cathedral just rising over the wall. It’s a testament to Indonesia’s commitment to tolerance and religious freedom. In your nation, as in mine, we know that religion unifies, not divides. It gives us a foundation for hope and a brighter future for all of our people. And I commend the people of Indonesia for your example. You're inspiring the world. (Applause.) With the leadership of President Trump and President Jokowi, I have faith — faith that the friendship between the United States and Indonesia will grow; faith that our strategic partnership will grow; and faith that our example of freedom, security, and prosperity will grow for the benefit of our people, and for the benefit of the world. Thank you all for having me today. It’s been a great, great honor to be with you. (The agreements are signed.) END
Dear Friends, I am so proud to join you in celebrating the 196th Anniversary of Greek Independence, and with President Trump, to have welcomed so many of you to the White House yesterday. Greek Independence Day means so much to all of us. As we gather with friends and family in celebration, we are reminded of the values and ideals that inspired our democracy. The belief that government should be by the people and for the people was a revolutionary concept that has since paved the way to our prosperous and free Nation. This weekend, as we celebrate our shared desires for freedom, sovereignty, and self-governance, I can tell you that nobody will work harder to preserve these ideals than President Trump. As White House Chief of Staff, I see a President working each and every day to follow through on his promises. This is a man who approaches the job with such incredible energy and tenacity. Axios! As we find renewed strength at home, our friends abroad will find us to be an ever stronger ally. The President knows just how important our enduring alliances are, and Greece is no exception. My friends it is such an incredible honor, as a Greek American, to join you in renewing our devotion to representative democracy and “liberty and justice for all.” May God bless all of you as you commemorate Greek Independence Day, and may God bless the United States of America. Efharisto poli, Reince Priebus White House Chief of Staff
Today marks President Donald J. Trump's 50th day in office and while delivering his Weekly Address, he spoke about an issue of paramount importance to families across our Nation: healthcare. Seven years ago this month, Obamacare was signed into law over the profound objections of American people. Our citizens were told they would have to pass Obamacare to find out what it was and how bad it was. Now we know that the hundreds of pages were full of broken promises. And this is why we must repeal and replace Obamacare — to deliver relief to American workers, families, and small businesses, who right now are being crushed by Obamacare, by increasing freedom, choice, and opportunity for the American people.