For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
October 2, 2006
Vice President's Remarks at Luncheon for Congresswoman Barbara Cubin
12:25 P.M. MDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I appreciate the introduction, and that warm welcome is almost enough to make me want to run for office again. Almost. (Laughter.) Wake up, Al.
I'm delighted to be back. Lynne and I are delighted to come home to Casper, and to lend a hand to make certain that Barbara gets another term in the U.S. House of Representatives. We're delighted to be here today, as well, with Senators Enzi and Thomas and Simpson, along with Diemer True, and candidate for Governor, Ray Hunkins. I know they're all here today.
It's all right, don't hold back. (Applause.)
Of course, campaigning here brings back a lot of fine memories for Lynne and me. The people of this state have been enormously kind to us over the years. In six races for Congress, you elected me six times. And thanks to you, I was able to deliver Wyoming for the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2000 and 2004. (Applause.)
You can imagine now, with the mid-term elections just five weeks away, that I'm spending a good deal of time traveling across the country on behalf of our Republican candidates. I'm in Casper today, not just as Vice President though, but as a voter in the state of Wyoming. And I might add, on the way to the airport this morning in Jackson, Lynne and I voted. And we did, in fact, vote for Barbara Cubin and Craig Thomas -- (applause) -- and I might say the rest of the Republican ticket.
We think we've got a great ticket here in Wyoming this year, starting, of course, with our senior U.S. Senator, Craig Thomas, with Ray Hunkins, Joe Meyer, Max Maxfield, Rita Meyer, Jim McBride and our one and only Congresswoman, Barbara Cubin.
Like many of you, I've known Barbara for a long time. She's always been an active citizen, working to improve her community and this great state of ours. She's served in both Houses of the Wyoming Legislature, and for the last 12 years in the U.S. Congress. She is a respected voice on energy and mineral issues, which are so important to our state's economy. She's known to members of both parties as a colleague of integrity and great ability.
Every day, Barbara Cubin stands up for low taxes, for limited government, individual rights, and a strong national defense. She is a credit to Wyoming. She's doing our state proud in Washington. She's got my vote, and I hope she'll have yours, as well. (Applause.)
These are times of incredible consequence for our country, with difficult issues, big debates, and decisions that require not just toughness, but wisdom. President Bush and I are grateful to have someone of Barbara's caliber in the House. She's part of a great team that has delivered results for the American people, making this country more prosperous and protecting our citizens from those who want to harm us. That's been our record, and in this election year, that is still the pledge to the people of this country.
One of the most important issues on the ballot on November 7th is taxes, and when Americans go to the polls, they're going to have the clearest possible choice. This administration and the Republican Congress are pro-growth and pro-jobs, and we believe the first principle of economic growth is for government to leave more money in the hands of the people who earned it.
The President signed major tax relief in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. We reduced taxes for every American who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, and created new incentives for small businesses to invest. The Bush tax relief has left more than $1 trillion in the hands of workers, investors, small businesses, and families, and they have used those resources to fuel more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth.
Another key decision we made was to reduce the taxes on capital gains and dividends. These cuts were designed to lower the cost of capital, to encourage businesses to grow, to expand, to create more jobs. They were passed in 2003. I should point out that, when the matter came up in the Senate that year, the vote was 50 senators in favor, 50 senators opposed. Fortunately, the Constitution provides a remedy in such cases, and I was there to break the tie. (Applause.) The great thing I've noticed is that every time I vote, our side wins. (Laughter and applause.) The key thing, though, is the tax reductions are doing exactly what we expected. Business investment has grown. Spending on equipment and software has hit record levels. Well over $3 trillion in wealth has been added to the stock market. All of that translates into new private-sector jobs, and every new job means another family is one step closer to the American Dream.
The jobs picture right now is the best in our history; more Americans are working today than ever before. Since August of '03, the United States has added over 5.7 million new jobs, more than Japan and the 25 nations of Europe combined.
The national unemployment rate is 4.7 percent -- lower than the average rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. Productivity over the last five years has grown at the fastest rate in decades, and higher productivity leads to higher wages.
American workers are taking home bigger paychecks and their standard of living is on the rise. Household net worth is at an all-time high.
The economy continues to grow, and last year alone it grew faster than Japan, more than twice as fast as France, and more than three times as fast as Germany. President Bush's tax relief plan was right for America, and it is working. (Applause.)
Our party has a clear record on taxes, and so do our opponents. When we first cut taxes in 2001, most Senate Democrats and nearly 85 percent of House Democrats voted against it. When we cut taxes in 2003, most Senate Democrats and nearly 95 percent of House Democrats voted against it. And when we extended key tax cuts earlier this year, most Senate Democrats and more than 90 percent of House Democrats voted against it.
The record of the other party is plain to see, and it stretches back a long way. The last time they had control of Congress, in 1993, they passed a massive tax increase. They'll do it again if they can, and they've already figured out a way. Under current law, many of the Bush tax cuts have to be renewed by Congress or they'll expire. And recently the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel of New York, said that he cannot think of one of our first term tax cuts that should be extended.
That would raise the taxes [sic] of this election in the mind of every voter in America. It certainly should. If the Democrats took control and let the tax cuts expire, there will be an automatic tax increase, and American families would face an immense new burden, and the economy would sustain a major hit.
As the President has said, the nation needs more than a temporary expansion, so we need more than temporary tax relief. For the sake of America's entrepreneurs, families and communities, we need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and we will do that with a new Republican Congress. (Applause.)
When the new Congress convenes in January, we're going to continue working on an agenda for growth and jobs, a safe environment, and better access to healthcare. We believe our job is to solve big problems, not pass them along to the future generations.
That's how we'll continue to do business. And when vacancies arise on the federal courts, the President will keep appointing outstanding judges like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito to the federal bench. (Applause.)
But above all, friends, we're going to stay focused on our number one obligation: to protect and defend the people of the United States in wartime. (Applause.)
After the attacks of 9/11, President Bush told the Congress and the country that we were in for a long struggle against enemies who regard the entire world as a battlefield. He said the fight would be a serious test of our patience and resolve as a nation, and he was exactly right.
This is a hard fight, against enemies who wear no uniforms, organize in secret, and target the innocent. The terrorists want to seize control of a nation in the Middle East so they have a base for launching attacks against anyone who will not meet their demands. They have declared an intention to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate all Western countries, and to cause mass death here in the United States.
Their methods are cruel. As the President has said, "The terrorists will continue to have the coward's power to plant roadside bombs and recruit suicide bombers. And you will continue to see the grim results on the evening news. This proves that the war is difficult; it does not mean that we are losing."
What it does show is the strategy of the terrorists. They know they cannot beat the United States military in a stand-up fight, but they are absolutely convinced they can break the will of the American people. They base this view, in part, on the history of the 1980s and the 1990s, when they concluded that if they killed enough Americans, they could change American policy.
In Beirut in 1983, terrorists killed 241 of our service members. Thereafter, U.S. forces withdrew from Beirut. In Mogadishu in 1993, terrorists killed 19 American soldiers. Thereafter, U.S. forces withdrew from Somalia. The attacks continued -- the bombing on the World Trade Center in 1993, the murders at the Saudi National Guard Training Facility in Riyadh in 1995, Khobar Towers in 1996, Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. And of course, all of this ultimately led to the attack here on 9/11.
With each attack, the terrorists grew more confident in believing they could strike America without paying a price. Osama Bin Laden continues to predict that the people of the United States simply do not have the stomach to stay in the fight against terror. Gradually, the terrorists will learn otherwise. Americans love our country. We remember what was done to us on 9/11. We did not start this war, but we will stay in the fight until it's won. (Applause.)
To remove this danger to civilization we have to proceed on many fronts at the same time -- from law enforcement, to diplomacy, to a global effort against weapons of mass destruction. For the long term, we're promoting democracy and hope as the alternatives to ideologies of resentment and violence. We're committed to making a better day possible in the broader Middle East so our children and grandchildren won't have to live in a world with terror states that arm themselves with deadly weapons.
The United States of America is a good country, a decent, realistic and compassionate country. We're doing honorable work in a messy and a dangerous world. We are defended by heroes. And the brave Americans on duty in this war can be proud of their service for the rest of their lives. (Applause.)
In this election season, we're going to keep issues of national security at the top of the agenda. The President and I welcome the discussion, because every voter in America needs to know where we stand, as well as how the leaders of the Democratic Party view the war on terror.
Their floor leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, boasted publicly of his efforts to kill the Patriot Act. Many Democrats have attacked the President for the Terrorist Surveillance Program, even though it's common sense to monitor the international communications of people trying to kill Americans.
This past week, as legislation was considered in the House and the Senate to allow us to use military commissions to bring terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to justice, the vast majority of Democrats in both chambers voted no.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, who would be chairman of the Intelligence Committee if his party took power, believes the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein still ruled Iraq. And the chairman of the Democratic Party is Howard Dean, who said the capture of Saddam Hussein didn't make America any safer. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that such a party would turn its back on a man like Senator Joe Lieberman.
Senator Lieberman was my opponent in 2000 -- Al Gore's running mate -- a longtime senator, and one of the most loyal and distinguished Democrats of his generation. Joe is also an unapologetic supporter of the fight against terror. He voted to support military action in Iraq when most other senators in both parties did the same, and he's had the courage to stick by that vote even when things get tough. And now, for that reason alone, the Howard Dean Democrats have purged Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party.
Their choice, instead, is a candidate whose explicit goal is to give up the fight against the terrorists in Iraq, never mind that Iraq is a now democracy; never mind that the Iraq and the people and their elected leaders are counting on us. What these Democrats are pushing now is the very kind of retreat that has been tried and has failed in the past. It would be reckless and inconsistent with our values. It would betray our friends, and only heighten the danger to the United States, and it would mean that all the sacrifices our military have been involved in would have been in vain.
So the choice before the American people is becoming more clear every day. For the sake of our security, this nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the face of determined enemies. (Applause.)
The case of Joe Lieberman is a perfect illustration of the basic philosophical differences between the two parties in the year 2006, and it's a reminder that the elections on November 7th will have enormous consequences for this nation, one way or the other.
In all the decisions that will come over the next two years, it's going to matter a great deal which party has the majority on the floor and controls the gavel in committee. And I don't need to tell you what kind of legislation would come to us by way of committee chairmen like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Conyers, Henry Waxman, Barney Frank, or Jay Rockefeller.
The stakes in this campaign are high, not just for the political parties but for the nation. And that's what brings us all together today. We're here because of the principles we hold, the values we share, and the direction that we believe is best for this nation.
We have a great President living in the White House. He deserves a Congress that works with him, not against him. Here in Wyoming, we get only one vote on the House floor, and it's one we can always count on to do what's right.
Barbara Cubin does a great job for Wyoming. I'm proud to be her constituent and her colleague, and the President and I look forward to working with her in the years ahead.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 12:46 P.M. MDT