Saturday, November 18, 2017
Politics

Pence says Trump remains focused on policy priorities, including tax cuts

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WASHINGTON — With the White House consumed by a series of crises, Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday sought to put a focus on his boss's agenda for tax cuts and other pro-business priorities.

Appearing at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pence received polite applause as he offered greetings from President Donald Trump, whom Pence described as "a champion of American workers and American free enterprise."

"Whatever Washington D.C. may be focused on at any given time, rest assured, President Donald Trump will never stop fighting for the issues that matter most to the American people: good jobs, safe streets and a boundless American future," Pence told about 350 business leaders gathered for an "Invest in America! Summit."

During his 13-minute remarks, Pence made no explicit mention of flaring controversies, including those related to Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, reports of his sharing highly classified material with Russian officials or the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

Instead, Pence touted Trump's early accomplishments — including the rollback of some Obama administration regulations and green-lighting previously stalled pipeline projects — and talked about several still-pending campaign promises.

"President Trump is keeping his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare," Pence said, referring to a Republican bill to revamp the Affordable Care Act, which has passed the House after several fits and starts and is being rewritten in the Senate.

Pence also talked up Trump's tax plan, which includes cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, according to a one-page preview recently released by the White House.

"If you take nothing else from what I say today, know this: President Donald Trump is committed to signing the most significant and consequential tax relief in American history," Pence said.

The vice president also touted Trump's promise to spur $1 trillion in new infrastructure investments, which is a major priority of the Chamber of Commerce. Administration officials say they will propose spending $200 billion in federal dollars to leverage additional spending by state and local governments and the private sector.

The outlines of the plan are expected to be released next month.

"In case you hadn't noticed, the American people elected a builder to be president of the United States of America," Pence told the group.

Before exiting, the vice president left the group with this pledge: "In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to work tirelessly to enact our agenda and make the strongest economy in the world stronger still."

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