Opinions and Speeches

“Is this a great country or what? You know you don’t find anybody trying to break out of the United States of America, you find them trying to break in. And when they try to break in they try to come to the greatest state in the United States of America, the great state of Georgia.

“Think about this for a second. I was thinking about it last night when I was preparing my thoughts for my remarks today. We’re the center of healthcare in the world with the CDC [Centers for Disease Control]. We have the greatest airport in the world and the greatest airline in the world with Delta and Hartsfield International Airport. We have the port of Savannah getting ready to be deepened to 47 feet, the most profitable port on the east coast of the United States of America. This chamber’s getting ready to focus on travel and tourism. People think ag[riculture] is number one in Georgia, and it is, but number two is travel and tourism and it’s an important economic engine.

“We have a great, great country. We have a great, great state and we have a great government and Nathan Deal is doing a fantastic job for our state of Georgia. If you ask Nathan, he’ll tell you it’s all because of Sandra. She does a great job as our first lady.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention three people this morning at the beginning of my remarks, and I hope all of you will keep these people in your thoughts, in your prayers, and be very thankful for them.

“First of all, we lost a leader in Georgia last week in Mike Egan. Mike was a pioneer in the Georgia legislature, was a Deputy U.S. Attorney General under Jimmy Carter and the Jimmy Carter administration, was one of the leading Republicans first elected to the Georgia legislature, a great human being, a great person. Unfortunately he passed away last week, and we’ll miss him greatly.

“Secondly, we’ve got to give a lot of thanks to Lynn Westmoreland who just announced that he’s going to retire. Lynn has done a phenomenal job for the state of Georgia and the Congress of the United States. I hope he continues to serve our state in whatever capacity he decides to do so, but I thank Lynn for what he’s done and what he’s done to help us.

“And third but not last: John Lewis. The United States Navy just announced they’re going to name a ship after John Lewis. Now I don’t know about you but if I was in the Navy, I’d want to be stationed on the U.S.S. John Lewis because it’ll never sink. John is a great leader, a great civil rights leader, a great leader in Congress, and a great friend of mine, and I’m proud of John Lewis and what he’s done.

“And I’m proud to be here today. I’m going to talk about three subjects hopefully of interest to you; hopefully focused on some of the issues you and the chamber want to hear about, and then I’m going to turn it over to the great governor Nathan Deal.

“First of all, let me talk about what we did during our appropriations and our budgets [at the end of 2015]. A lot of people got mad. They said, ‘You did an anonymous appropriations bill, you put a 2,192 page bill together at the last minute. You didn’t do any good.’

“Well I beg to differ. Those 2,192 pages were put together over the last seven years because we haven’t done an appropriations bill in seven years to speak of. We did all 12 of them in the omnibus appropriations bill. And we did some doggone good things, like spend less money than we spent in 2008 for example, which nobody ever gives us credit for.

“But most importantly, as Republicans and Democrats from Georgia, the [Georgia] congressional delegation of the United States [Congress] joined hands together against those who would try and undermine our efforts in water safety and water availability for the metropolitan Atlanta area and the state of Georgia. We locked heads, we went up against the leadership that went after us, and we beat them.

“We did it because we had an almost unanimous vote, Democratic, Republican alike in the House and Senate to make sure the water language, which would have restricted Georgia’s water supply and reversed what we’ve wanted and worked for. We turned that around, and we stopped them. I’m proud of what we did, and I’m proud of every single member of the delegation for their leadership, and I thank you Georgia chamber for its support.

“Secondly, nobody has written about the tax reform. I spoke here two years ago and talked about the need to go to a territorial tax system and reform taxes. We need to do that. But nobody gives us much credit for what we did, and we merged a lot of budget reform with a lot of tax reform.

“We repealed the medical device tax for two years; we delayed the ‘Cadillac tax’ on Obamacare for two years; we made permanent the R&D tax credit; we extended small business expensing to a half a million dollars a year for small business, which is the big business of Georgia. Chris knows that. Paul knows that. Everybody knows that.

“We get a lot of things to incentivize business and growth. In fact, we reduced tax increases or delayed tax increases by $675 billion. That my friends is not chicken feed, that’s real money. And I was very proud to be a part of doing that.

“Did we make some tradeoffs? Sure. Are there some things I would have done different? Sure. But you don’t do everything by getting all your way and the other guy getting nothing. You have to find a way to do what we did.

“And while I talk about that, I want to thank David Perdue for his first year of service to the United States Senate as my partner from Georgia. He did a great job on the budget. He’s on the Budget Committee. He’s an outspoken leader for budget reform, and we’re going to have it because of David Perdue and the good work that he does.

“Now secondly, I want to talk a little about what we’ve got to do in the year to come. There’s a runaway train in this administration, and it’s not going to stop until it’s successful unless we stop it. That’s an overly burdensome regulatory authority over banking, over labor, and over doing business in America.

“The job of the Congress of the United States is to make sure the playing field that you compete on is level and fair. It’s not to pick winners and losers, but this administration is trying to pick winners and losers.

“Take the NLRB for example. They have a new rule they’re posting called joint employment where if you work for McDonald’s at a McDonald’s on North Avenue in Atlanta, you are [considered] an employee of McDonald’s corporate headquarters in New York City. What does that mean? That means they’re corporately liable for whatever happens to their franchise in Atlanta. That’s wrong. That will destroy the franchise system, and it will destroy a lot of small business.

“But there are a lot of people that want to increase its reach on the NLRB, and increase the reach of the trial bar, and increase the reach of those who go after business. We’re going to do everything we can to see to it that we stop them, and we’re not going to stop until we’re successful.

“Secondly, quickly, I’d like to discuss what’s known as “quickie elections.” …They’ve got a new rule on quickie elections where they’ve reduced the number of days from 47 to 11, where a company has to call a vote for unionization. 11 days is not enough time to make your case. You ought to have at least 47 days and we’ve got to stop it.

“And then there are the micro unions.

“This is the one that all the department stores and big branch stores hate. This is the one that says you can incorporate a union in just one part of the company.

“The NLRB approved to unionize the contemporary shoe shop in Bergdorf Goodman’s in New York City on the seventh floor. Just the shoe shop! What if you had fifty-seven different items like a Home Depot or like a Bergdorf Goodman or like a department store and you had a union in every single department? You just can’t operate that way.

“I’m a huge supporter of fair equity and fair and equitable payment for labor. I’m a big supporter of labor laws in America. We couldn’t do our business without labor, and labor has to have a partnership with the management of the business. If we can overly weight the burdens against the management of business, we’re going to do away with jobs. It’s not the right thing to do, and I’m going to continue to see to it that we have fair and equitable [application] in terms of labor laws in the United States of America. I’ll promise you that.

“Now in terms of our famers and our farm industry in this state, this is the Waters of the USA regulation, and the EPA is something we have to stop from moving forward, and we’re trying to do that. Otherwise, the federal government will regulate everything from the glass of water that’s on your table, to the water that’s in Lake Lanier. We can see that there’s a pervasive expansion of the federal government that we have just got to stop, and I’m going to do everything I can to see to it that regulation is fair, the playing field that you’re competing on is level, and the government doesn’t pick you as a winner or a loser.

“Now last and most importantly, there’s nothing more important than the security of our country, the security of our children, and the security of our grandchildren.

“You can’t do business if you’re timid and [living] in fear of terrorism or what might happen in terrorism. We’ve seen it reach Brussels, we’ve seen it reach Texas, we’ve seen it reach San Bernardino, California. We saw it reach Philadelphia this week. It is pervasive, and it’s growing.

“You cannot contain terrorism, you have to defeat terrorism. Our policy of containment right now is a policy that insures we’ll have a victory in 15 years. How many people will die in 15 years? How many businesses will be lost in 15 years? How many times will we stop doing things the way we used to, out of fear of terrorism? We have got to declare a war on terrorism. We’ve got to put every resource we can and make [these resources] available. We’ve got to stop it, and we’ve got to stop it now.

"I was on 'Squawk Box' back last summer on [CNBC]. I was doing a business interview about business legislation in the Congress. I was asked by the lady who was interviewing me, she said, ‘By the way, if you were president, what would you do to stop ISIL in the Middle East and terrorists?’ I said, ‘You know you can’t negotiate with somebody that will harm themselves; burn you to death in the town square. You can’t negotiate with somebody who will kill themselves to kill you. You can’t negotiate with somebody who will be a terrorist and attack your family. You can’t negotiate with them, you can’t deal with them, you can’t barter with them, the only thing you can do is kill them, and the faster we destroy them the safer our world is going to be, and that’s what I’m intending on doing in Congress of the United States of America.’

“There should be no equivocation whatsoever that is the single largest threat to the security and the safety of our people. We’re already changing the way we live our lives because of terrorism.

“We can’t continue to change, because they win when we cower in fear. They win when we’re afraid of a terrorist attack. They win when we change our lifestyle as Americans because we fear them. We have to teach them that messing with the United States of America is not something you want to do and we will do what it takes to get it done.

“Now I was in the [U.S.] Air Force and I know air attacks work, but air attacks don’t just work alone. Unless you’ve got some folks on the ground to tell you where the enemy is, you can’t bomb them because you don’t know where they are. We have to have a pervasive joint branch effort in the Middle East to go after ISIL and the Levant and see to it that they’re destroyed.

“I will continue to support this administration when they do that, and I will speak out against them when they don’t.

“We’ve cut our military to the lowest levels it’s been since World War II pretty soon. That’s too low to fight the two fronts at a time when we have three fronts going on right now in the United States. It is time that we met the challenge of the 21st century and the challenge of 2016: that is to attack ISIL, to defeat ISIL, to destroy ISIL, and to return security and peace to the people of the United States of America. You can clap for that, too.

“But in the end, let me stop where I began. We have a great state, we live in a great country. We have much opportunity in this country. But it’s something that if taken for granted, we’ll lose it. I love America and I love the state of Georgia and I’m going to, as long as I live, do everything I can to protect it to pay it back in some small way for all it’s done for me.

“But the Chamber of Commerce is one of the key [leaders of] industries in our state and one of the key associations in our state. I was a member of this Chamber board for a long, long time. I was president of the Cobb Country Chamber of Commerce and one of my proudest efforts in my volunteer civil service. I will tell you this: without the Chamber and the government working together as partners, hand in hand and promoting business and equity, and fair, level playing fields for competition, we’ll never be the state we used to be. We won’t be as good as we are, but we can be even better.

“Take that agenda that’s in front of you. Look at those 16 items in that agenda. Help Nathan Deal with reforming on public education. Help us in terms of Waters of the USA. Help us in terms of the National Labor Relations Board. Be a partner with government to see to it that we have a level playing field for business, and you know what will happen? The greatest state in the greatest country on the face of the Earth will get even better, even faster.

“God bless all of you and God bless the United States of America.”