The Dallas Morning News
Pence touts tax overhaul in Dallas
He touts tax overhaul among ‘promises made, promises kept’ by Trump
Vice President Mike Pence, speaking in Dallas on Saturday, touted the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax revamp as a harbinger of renewed prosperity in Texas.
Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday touted the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax revamp as a harbinger of renewed prosperity in Texas, signaling how Republicans plan to lean on the legislation in their efforts to maintain control of Congress.
The Republican, speaking at the Sheraton Dallas, said “it’s been really remarkable to watch” the response to the sweeping overhaul.
Pence pointed, in particular, to how companies like Dallas-based AT&T and Southwest Airlines have announced $1,000 employee bonuses in recent weeks. In Texas alone, he said, nearly 88,000 workers have received what he called a “Trump bonus.”
And Pence said that was just one of many “promises made and promises kept” by President Donald Trump.
“Growth is back,” he said in a 30-minute speech, which headlined a tax-focused event hosted by America First Policies, a group created to promote Trump’s agenda. “Jobs are coming back. And America is back once again.”
The Dallas speech came as part of a two-day Texas swing in which Pence sought to bolster the GOP on multiple fronts.
He toured the Texas-Mexico border Friday to highlight the need for more border security. He raised money in Dallas and San Antonio for GOP election efforts.
And he gave the keynote speech Saturday night at the Dallas County GOP’s Reagan Day dinner at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas, thanking the county’s Republicans for their support and touting the party line on the border and immigration.
“We’re going to secure our border,” Pence said at the soldout dinner. “We’re going to fix this broken immigration system and, make no mistake about it, we’re going to build that wall.”
Pence said Trump’s presidential administration has been a success.
“America is back,” he said. At the Saturday morning event, there was no mistaking the heavy focus on the tax revamp — and with it, the GOP’s steadfast confidence that the overhaul will win over voters in the November elections.
Though the legislation was unpopular among many Americans when it passed in December — in part because the biggest benefits flow to corporations and the wealthy, according to multiple independent analyses — polls are already starting to show some shifts in opinion.
And Pence predicted that trend would continue as the vast majority of taxpayers in Texas and beyond start to notice beefier paychecks thanks to reduced federal tax withholding.
“Very soon, the impact of what happened nearly two months ago will start to take its full effect on the American economy,” said Pence, who was joined in Dallas by Republicans including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Nothing about Pence’s trip impressed Texas Democrats, who charged in advance that the Trump administration is in “chaos because every single policy proposal is an insult to Texans.”
“From jeopardizing our relationship with Mexico, to sabotaging our healthcare, and giving away tax cuts to billionaires on our children’s tab, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are literally ruining Texans’ lives and futures,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the state party.
And the Democrats made sure to needle Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican who could face a tough re-election contest this fall.
“Every single Texas Republican ought to be shaking in their boots,” Hinojosa said. “There’s a blue wave sweeping Texas, and hugging Mike Pence won’t save them.”
But Sessions, who introduced Pence at the Saturday morning event, offered no signs of concern. He said that “there are people in Washington, D.C., that do not want America to be successful because they know that what’s behind that is Donald J. Trump, Mike Pence and Republicans.”
In that way, Pence’s trip amounted mostly to a Texas-themed celebration of Trump’s first year.
He touted Trump’s infrastructure plan. And Pence, raising cash in Dallas for the National Republican Congressional Committee, offered enthusiasm about GOP candidates in Texas and beyond.
But the vice president also took some time to address Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead.
Pence offered condolences for the victims. And while he complained that “voices in Washington and in the media are running to their predictable debates,” he said Trump was going to “make the safety of America’s schools our top administration priority.”
“We will get to the bottom of what happened here,” Pence said.
Political writer Gromer Jeffers Jr. contributed to this report.