Coming off the the "Thank Your Tour" that got started yesterday with stops in Indiana and Ohio, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence sat down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss the new administration's aggressive plans for the first 100 days in office. Pence said the new team plans for a "burst of activity" right out of the gate and said "the only thing that will surprise them is that Washington, D.C., is going to get an awful lot done in a short period of time."
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Thursday that the incoming Trump administration is planning a burst of activity that would take aim at the gridlock in Washington, pressing forward with its goals to overhaul the tax code, health care and immigration laws.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Pence said President-elect Donald Trump is preparing ambitious 100-day and 200-day plans aimed at fulfilling core campaign promises and jump-starting economic growth.
Asked what might surprise voters about the Trump White House, Mr. Pence said: “I think the only thing that will surprise them is that Washington, D.C., is going to get an awful lot done in a short period of time.”
The priorities of the first 100 days laid out by Pence are not terribly surprising and include reforming immigration, repealing and replacing Obamacare, filling the vacant Supreme Court seat and overhauling the tax code. While several reforms can be accomplished by simply undoing Obama's many executive orders, others, like tax reform, will require Congressional approval and will stretch into the spring.
The new administration’s first priorities would include curbing illegal immigration, abolishing and then replacing Mr. Obama’s signature health-care system, nominating a justice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and strengthening the military, said Mr. Pence, whose wife, Karen Pence, sat nearby during the interview.
By springtime, the Trump administration would work with congressional leaders “to move fundamental tax reform” meant to “free up the pent-up energy in the American economy,” he said.
Pillars of the tax overhaul would include lowering marginal tax rates, reducing the corporate tax rate “from some of the highest in the industrialized world” to 15%, and repatriating corporate cash held overseas, he said.
Such measures would “benefit American workers and strengthen American incomes,” said Mr. Pence, who will soon relinquish his post as governor of Indiana.
Of course, as Trump has already proven with his Carrier deal, Pence pointed out that the new administration will not conform to traditional Republican molds and will look to engage with individual companies to keep jobs in the United States.
His comments also suggest that a Trump White House would eschew many of the free-market principles that have guided prior Republican administrations, including injecting itself into the personnel and long-term operating decisions of individual companies.
He described Mr. Trump as a hands-on executive. The pair had come from Indiana, where they celebrated the decision by Carrier Corp., an air conditioning and furnace maker, to retain some jobs in the U.S. rather than relocate them to Mexico.
He said he was in the room when Mr. Trump made phone calls to company officials, describing his plans to make the economy friendlier to business, an argument he said proved persuasive.
Mr. Pence, in a private meeting with Greg Hayes, chief executive of United Technologies Corp., the owner of Carrier, also offered the company $7 million in state tax incentives over the next 10 years to keep about a third of the 2,100 Indiana workers in the U.S.
Embarrassingly, Obama recently mocked Trump for saying that he could keep Carrier in the United States, saying:
"When somebody says, like you person you just mentioned that I'm not going to advertise for, that he's going to bring all these jobs back. Well how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There's no answer to it."
He just says, well I'm going to negotiate a better deal. How exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have?"
Any questions, Obama? We think all of your questions above have been sufficiently answered but just want to make sure. It's pretty simple actually, you actually engage with corporate executives and negotiate incentives that make it beneficial to actually stay in the United States.