ICYMI: Inhofe: "Not only is middle-class America going to benefit from this, they already have"

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), spoke on the Senate floor this week about missile defense and tax reform.   

Click here to view remarks.

Key Excerpts: 

On missile defense:

“… It is important for us to communicate to the American people that the threat that we face is probably the most imminent threat that we’ve had in the history of this country.

Today, I think, it’s the most—the greatest threat we have had, certainly in my lifetime.  …”

“… Since Kim Jong-Un took power in 2009, he’s already conducted more than 80 ballistic missile tests. That’s far more than his father and his grandfather had conducted. …”

On tax reform:

“… I think it is important that people understand that not only is middle-class America going to benefit from this, they already have. One million Americans are counting on receiving raises and bonuses from this tax reform.

In my State of Oklahoma, thousands of employees will be receiving and have already received large compensation increases, bonuses— the AAON Corporation of Tulsa, the Express Employment Professionals in Oklahoma City, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and AT&T. …”

 

As prepared for delivery: 

Mr. President, for about twenty years now I have viewed the development and deployment of a layered ballistic missile defense shield as probably, singularly, the most vital thing we could be doing around here. Adversaries, like North Korea—people are aware of that now—and others have ballistic missiles. They are increasing in range and capability.

One of the problems that you have is you get countries like North Korea developing missile capabilities and if they have it, other adversaries have it.

It is important for us to communicate to the American people that the threat that we face is probably the most imminent threat that we’ve had in the history of this country.

Today, I think, it’s the most—the greatest threat we have had, certainly in my lifetime. 

I have spoken on the floor on this issue in 2001, 2009, 2012, and this will be the fourth time this year. Over the last 30 years, we have witnessed our missile defense programs go through dramatic investment periods followed by extreme starvation and cancellations. Now I am talking about, here in the United States, depending on who happens to be president at the time.

We remember back when Reagan came in and people made fun of him and tried to defame him in any way that they could. And yet, he was able to be persistent and start on a program we should be very thankful we have today.

Now, that was followed in 1989 by President Bush, he continued that program. However, when President Clinton came in 1993, the first thing he did was cut $2.5 billion from the Bush missile defense budget request for fiscal year 1994. He also terminated the Reagan-Bush Strategic Defense Initiative program and downgraded National Missile Defense to a research and development program. He cut 5-year missile defense funding by 54 percent from $39 billion to $18 billion.

Continuing with his administration in 1996, he cut funding and slowed development of THAAD and Navy Theater-Wide systems.

In 1999, the last of the Clinton years, he delayed—by at least two years—what they call the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) which is a very complicated system that knocks down incoming missiles.

Then Bush 2000 came in. By the end of 2008, President Bush had succeeded in fielding a missile defense system capable of defending all 50 States. Now, one of the thing he did that was most significant—and this was in the final years of his administration—was recognize the fact that we have had ground based interceptors in our country for a number of years. In fact, there are 44 GBIs systems, unfortunately they are all on the West Coast because that’s where we though the threat would be.

Now, we know—we discovered during the Bush Administration—that the threat was from both sides. We recognized Iran was developing the capability as well as North Korea and others. In order to protect the eastern United States as well as central Europe, we had this system set up. I remember being over there with one of our strongest allies. The system that they set up was one where they had a radar system in the Czech Republic and they had a rocket system—a ground based interceptor— in Poland, right next door.

I remember when Václav Klaus was the president of the Czech Republic, one of our strongest supporters. He said to me at that time “If we go ahead and put this system in the Czech Republic and in Poland, can you assure me that if we incur the wrath of Russia, we are not going to end up being embarrassed and have the rug pulled out from under us?” And I said “There’s not a chance in the world that would happen.”

Well, that did happen. In fact, it was a total of the 44 ground based interceptors were actually fielded, that was in Alaska and California, on the West Coast. So, we went through this thing where they pulled the rug out from under Poland as well as the Czech Republic.

Then, in April 2009, came our first of the Obama defense cuts which began disarming America and dismantling our layered missile defense system. Due to his overall reduced budget requests in defense, there were not enough Aegis ships.

Since Kim Jong-Un took power in 2009, he’s already conducted more than 80 ballistic missile tests. That’s far more than his father and his grandfather had conducted.

North Korea has conducted 6 nuclear tests of increasingly powerful weapons– the latest test being September of this year. 

Now, the major test came after that on November 28.

On November 28, he demonstrated that he had the range of the United States, of the central part of our country. In other words, it was stated by others observing that he now has the capability of reaching any target in the mainland United States.

Some scientists did an analysis of what they did on the 28th of November and they made it very clear. David Wright, who is an analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote “yesterday’s test indicates that North Korea can now hold the United States well within missile range.”

Further quoting, he said, “Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact, any part of the continental United States.”

Mr. President, let me mention something else that I think is very significant because I heard today a lot of people criticizing and not really understanding what happened with the tax plan that was passed.

Already, we are getting the results of it. It is kind of exciting. I don’t recall anything in my career where we got the results as quickly as we got and we are getting right now.

We heard Minority Leader Schumer call the tax plan ‘‘a punch in the gut to the middle class.’’ In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders said ‘‘The Republican agenda on health care and taxes is . . . widely disliked by the American people’’ and a ‘‘tax giveaway to the wealthy.’’

I think it is important that people understand that not only is middle-class America going to benefit from this, they already have. One million Americans are counting on receiving raises and bonuses from this tax reform.

In my State of Oklahoma, thousands of employees will be receiving and have already received large compensation increases, bonuses— the AAON Corporation of Tulsa, the Express Employment Professionals in Oklahoma City, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and AT&T.

In fact, Senator Roy Blunt was coming back on a plane, the same one I was on, and the flight attendant was talking about how she had already received a $1,000 bonus. Then, the rest of them chimed in and said: We have too. That is already happening.

Right now we have a list of 123 major corporations that have already given an average of $1,000 for every employee they have, predicated on the assumption that the tax plan is going to increase the economy, and that is exactly what is going to happen.

I am confident that this is actually happening today. I have to say this, though, because more people still try to say: Well, we can’t give tax reductions to people and still increase revenue to do all of these things we need to do with our national defense and with our infrastructure programs. That is not true.

I am going to repeat one that I have done before on this, but people seem to not understand. It is easy to say: Well, if you reduce taxes, you are going to reduce revenue. That is not the way it works.

I remember very well what happened. I was not in this position, of course. But, in 1991, when Ronald Reagan was President, at that time he had the most far-reaching reduction in taxes.

Remember, the top rate was reduced from 70 percent to 30 percent, and the other brackets came down proportionately. Yet at the time he did that, in 1981, the total amount of revenue coming into the United States was $469 billion.

As a result of that, it increased revenue to $750 billion. That is huge, and it shows that it really happens. The reason it happens is that for each 1 percent increase in the economy, it produces increased revenue of some $3 trillion. That is what happened then, and that is what is going to happen now. People are rejoicing today.