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Oval Office

2:12 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  We have four great families — middle class.  I guess at a certain point, you’re going to be making so much money you don’t really — not going to know what to do with it, perhaps — I hope — Brian.

But we have four terrific families.  Some of them have had difficulty.  Taxes are too high.  Frankly, their healthcare is terrible.  The healthcare plan is terrible — Obamacare.  And that will be next.  We’re a long way toward getting rid of that and getting something very good and very much more affordable — very big problem.

But for the taxes:  They want to see tax cuts.  They want to see jobs.  They want to have choice.  You know, in education we talk about choice.  Well, we want choice in jobs also.  So you can look for five jobs or six jobs, not just take one because that’s all you could get.  And that’s happening more and more.

We have companies moving back into our country.  We’re doing fantastic — look at the stock market.  Hit another all-time high.  I think I heard today was 81 times — I was saying 60, yesterday — it’s 81 times since the election that we hit a record on the stock market.  So we’re very proud of that.  And that’s because of enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm levels for business and for the economy are the highest they’ve been.

So I just want to thank all of you for being here.  You’re in the Oval Office, and someday you might be President, you never know.  (Laughter.)  That’s a good-looking President.  (Laughter.)

But it’s an honor to have you all, and thank you very much.  And if you’d like to say something, perhaps we’ll start with you.

MR. STEORTS:  Sure.  First, Mr. President, I just want to say it’s an honor to be here for our family and I.  We come from a — you know, we’re a small military family.  I spent 15 years in the military, and I launched the company two years ago.  And we’re a veteran-owned, operated company — veteran company.

And, you know, anything that’s less complex, with lower rates — I can’t tell you what page 391 of a 500-page tax document says.  But what I can tell you is, those funds we can reinvest into our people and into our company, which will enable our mission to continue to hire veterans and to continue to manufacture in America.  So that’s greatly beneficial to us.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Brian.  That’s very nice.  I appreciate it.  That’s really good.

Well, we’re going to get the rates down much lower, and many things are happening.  But we’re getting those rates way down, way down.

And that’s for companies also.  We’re the highest-taxed industrialized country in the world.  Of the major countries, we’re the highest taxed, period.  And we’re bringing that rate down from 35 percent — which is the highest — down to 20 percent — which is among the lower.  It’s not the lowest, but it’s among the lower.

And we’ll compete much better with China, where they have a 15-percent rate, and with other countries.  We’re going to compete much better and it’s going to mean a lot more jobs.  And a lot of companies are pouring in already, just on the thought of it.

So we’re in conference right now, and — all Republican votes.  And we’re going to do a — I call it the “massive tax cut.”  But it really is tax cuts and tax reforms.  Because part of it is simplification, as you said.

MR. STEORTS:  Thank you.  And I wanted to offer you this.  We make everything — like, at the time when I launched the company, we couldn’t find a wooden American flag made in America.  We could only find one from China, and that upset me.

THE PRESIDENT:  It upsets me too.

MR. STEORTS:  So I started woodworking the next day.  And when I retired, I launched the company Flags of Valor.  And this is made from all of our combat veterans right down the road here in Ashburn, Virginia.  And we want to present this to you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Let me see that.  Wow, that’s beautiful.  Thank you.  I know where I’m going to put that.  (Laughter.)  Thank you very much.

Would you like to say something?

MR. BEARDSLEY:  Yeah, Mr. President, thank you very much again.  And Merry Christmas, by the way.  Thanks for having the families come here.  Coming out here to talk about tax reform means a lot to us.  I’m a veteran also — a Green Beret with over 22 years of military service — a family man, and a small-business owner.  We’re in textiles, and we celebrate the stories that made this country the greatest country in the world.  We love America.

It means a lot to us in seeing the reform.  The resurgence in the economy will allow those companies to onshore their business.  Like Ryan said, too many things are done offshore.

So having that tax reform, putting the energy back in the consumer is where it belongs.  The American enterprise, or the entrepreneur — those are the ones who built this country.  And everything that you do to make taxes easier for us informs and strengthens the rest of America.  And we’re proud to be part of that this morning.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  That’s really well-stated.  We’re also working on trade deals.  We’ve had people sitting in this position that have made some of the worst deals I’ve ever seen in trade.  And we’re going to be fixing them.  We are fixing them.  We’re negotiating many of them right now.  But we’re fixing them, and they’ll be much more fair to the United States because the United States has not been treated well with our trade deals.  We have some very, very bad deals.  They’re good for everyone but us.  And that’s changing rapidly, and I know you see that too.  Well, you see that with the enthusiasm, you see that with the jobs coming back.  So we’re getting it all fixed.

Thank you very much.

MR. BEARDSLEY:  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.


MS. UNRUH:  Thank you so much for allowing our families to come and share our thoughts with you today.  I’m from North Dakota.  I’m a state senator there, and I just wanted to let you know, North Dakotans are known for being hard workers.

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s true.

MS. UNRUH:  And we don’t want a handout, we just want relief.  We want tax relief.  And that is what this plan will give us.  Between the state and local tax deduction elimination, we’ve — I work very hard as state senator to make sure that our tax burden at the local level is a low one.  And so that will level the playing field.  We’re really excited about that.

I also am a coal miner — a proud one.  I’m an environmental manager for North American Coal.  And we are really excited about the corporate-tax reduction.  It will allow us to invest more of our company’s dollars in domestic energy production, something that we think is very valuable.

Also, the House version of the bill includes an immediate reduction of the renewable wind energy production tax credit.  That’s also something important to us.  The production tax credit has destroyed the energy market, especially in the Midwest.  We don’t have a lot of electricity produced from natural gas in North Dakota.  So wind production has really eroded our state tax base and replaced coal production when it comes to electricity production.

So we’re excited about that provision in the House as well.  And we’re also very thankful for all the regulatory reform we’ve seen come from your office.  We would hope there’s more, and look forward to working with you on that.  And I think regulatory reform, coupled with tax reform, is exactly what we need to help make America great again.

And, on that note, we have some caps that we’ve been passing around — (laughter) — and I’d be happy if you would take one.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I still — we’ve done that.  If you look at what’s happened in West Virginia and so many different places, we’re sending clean coal.  We’re sending it out to different places — China.  A lot of coal ordered in China right now.  So a lot of things are changing, and they’re changing very rapidly.

And West Virginia, actually — different from your state, but your state is doing very well — but West Virginia was the second largest increase, percentage-wise, in the country, after Texas on GDP.  And, you know, people say, wow, how did that happen?  But they’re starting to do well in West Virginia, and it’s a great state.  And they’re having a lot of problems.  And now, think of that, percentage-wise, the second biggest bump.

That’s pretty good in this nation.  You wouldn’t have believed it, but they’re doing great.  We’re very proud of West Virginia.  So, good, thank you very much.  That’s a very interesting hat.  (Laughter.)

MR. WILLIAMS:  Mr. President, thank you so much for being here.  We bring you greetings from the great state of Indiana where you took one of our finest —

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s true.  That’s true.

MR. WILLIAMS:  We appreciate that.  I work in technology for a tech firm, and we’ve seen so many jobs that have left and went overseas, and we’ve seen some of the best talent in the world that’s left.

So this tax reform is a huge win for our company.  It’s significant.  It’s going to allow us once again to get that top-tier talent; keep them here in the United States working, number one.  And number two, we’re going to be able to give them, you know, the ability to be able to take that hard-earned income and reinvest it right back into our economy — it’s here to make America great again.  So we thank you so much for that opportunity.

THE PRESIDENT:  That is so good.  Thank you.  It’s a great state.  It’s a great, great state too.  We appreciate it.

Well, thank you all very much.  We appreciate it.  And these are great families that are doing well and now they’re doing much better, and maybe much better than ever before.  A lot of changes have taken place over the last 10 months, and we’re very happy to have all of you here.

But seeing what we’ve been able to do for the country in a short period of time — because this is nothing compared to what it will be over a period of years.  It’s all happening, and it’s happening a lot faster than anybody projected.

Thank you very much.  Thank you.


2:21 P.M. EST