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Alexander Acosta

R

U.S. Secretary of Labor (2017 - Present)

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Personal

Political Experience

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Remarks with Q&A by the Vice President, Governor Abbott and Cabinet Members on Hurricane Harvey Relief

Aug. 31

GOVERNOR ABBOTT: I want to take an opportunity to thank the Vice President of the United States for coming to Texas today. We had a remarkable and informative, but also a heartbreaking trip as we saw devastation from Rockport to Aransas County, all the way over to Victoria. We saw broken homes, and we talked to so many people with broken hearts. But we also saw something that is so incredible that has arisen because of this crisis, and that is the resiliency of our fellow Texans and our fellow Americans. We went up to some homes of people who had their homes completely destroyed. They were sitting out front, and they were just proud to be a Texan and proud that we were there to help them out. We went to help remove debris from a lawn that was completely littered. And I had a chance to hold a two-week-old baby, a baby that was born just days before Hurricane Harvey hit our coast. And his mom was a prideful mom, beaming with that big motherly smile that you would expect as if the storm had never hit. But I want you to know it has hit. It's hit the lives of the people all the way from Nueces County to Jefferson County, and horrific flooding in between. And I am so proud of the way that the President and the Vice President and their entire Cabinet have stood up, stood strong, and supported the people of Texas. Since more than a week before the hurricane even came ashore, the President and his Cabinet were in constant contact with my office asking, Governor, what can we do for the people of Texas? Ever since then, there's been close daily collaboration between my office with local officials, with the White House, and with their Cabinet. I've never seen a President, a Vice President, or a Cabinet who have responded as swiftly and as effectively to people in need like the people of Texas overcoming the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey. Mr. Vice President, I thank you. I thank the President. I thank the Cabinet members with us here today. But candidly, I got to tell you, the people I thank the most are our fellow Texans -- the way that we see Texans helping Texans, rescue each other, pull each other of flooding waters and save their lives, it's the average, everyday Texan who are the true heroes. But we know, Mr. Vice President, that this is going to take more than a few days for us to overcome. It's going to take months as we go into the transition period, and then years for us to fully recover. And I could not be prouder to have as partners in this process President Trump, our tremendous Vice President, and the men and women who serve in the President's Cabinet. I'm honored to have with me here today a man who is more than the Vice President of the United States, a man who is a friend, a man who knows how to govern, a man who knows how to face challenges and overcome those challenges, a man who will help Texas lead to build an ever better Texas. I'm proud to introduce Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Governor Abbott. And, Cecilia, thank you for the extraordinary leadership that you're providing for the people of Texas. I think the President said just yesterday that you were doing an incredible job, and traveling as we did today here through Corpus Christi and Rockport and Victoria, seeing the response on the ground, seeing the results, I echo that with a grateful heart. Thank you for your leadership. I'm also grateful to be joined by members of our Cabinet -- Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shulkin, and who else is back here? Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, and we'll hear just momentarily from each one of them, as well as our Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke.The President send Karen and I here today to survey the damage and ensure that the full resources of the federal government are being brought in support of the effort of state and local officials to rescue those that are in harm's way, to help communities begin to recover, and to lay a foundation to rebuild Texas in the wake of this horrific storm. The President will be returning to Texas this Saturday with the First Lady and will be traveling to Houston and other destinations within the state, again, to reinforce our administration's commitment to bring the resources and the compassion of the American people to this dire moment in the life of Texas. The President also sent me here with a very simple message: First, a message of gratitude to this governor and to state and local officials who have stepped forward with such professionalism and such consistency in this historic storm. Secondly, a word of gratitude to all of your first responders here in Texas, those who at this very hour are continuing to put themselves in harm's way to rescue people and deliver them from danger. They and you have inspired the nation, and we commend them on behalf of our President. I'm also here to express our appreciation and admiration for the federal team -- some 21,000 federal officials that are here on the ground in Texas -- Department of Defense personnel, FEMA personnel. Our President and our entire administration are proud of the long hours and the efforts that each of you have put into this effort to date and the commitment you have to see this through. And lastly as the Governor alluded, I think Karen and I today were most inspired by the volunteers. To see the outpouring of compassion and concern was deeply inspiring to us. And every American should know that even in this difficult time and this disastrous storm, the very best are the people of Texas, and the very best are the people of America shining forth. We stood in a yard. We watched total strangers helping to remove debris, helping people put their families and their lives back together. And on behalf of the President, I want to urge every American to do what Texans, who themselves are oftentimes dealing with hardship in their own household and their own family are doing, and that is find a way to help. You can go online. You can donate resources, or you can do it like thousands of Americans are already doing and will be doing in the weeks and months ahead, and that is find a way to get here and be the hands and feet and compassion of the American people to help these families, help these communities rebuild. President Trump often reminds that we are one American family, that when one hurts, we all hurt. We stand together in difficult times. And to the people of Texas, on behalf of President Trump, I say you were are in our prayers and in our hearts. And we are with you. As the President said in his visit here earlier this week and said again yesterday, I say today, on behalf of the American people, with the leadership of President Donald Trump to the people of Texas, we are with you today. We will be with you tomorrow, and we will be with you every day until this great state and these great communities recover and rebuild to be even better and stronger than ever before. With that, allow me to recognize the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke. ACTING SECRETARY DUKE: Good afternoon. As the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, my job is to tell you about the work that the federal government is doing in supporting the Governor and the state of Texas in its recovery. As the Vice President said, we've rescued more than 10,000 people from the state of Texas, and we're in the process of individual assistance to help people get back to their lives and homes. To date, we've approved already over 100,000 requests, totaling $50 million of individual assistance. Today, we saw some hope of the recovery. Some of the hope was in infrastructure. The Hobby Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport opening. But more important, we saw the hope in the people. This is a real partnership to complete the work that needs to be done in Texas. We, as the federal government will be supporting the state and its people. The not-for-profits that are here -- hugely important. Congress -- everyone it is important that we all come together. And I think what was most momentous to me, led by the survivors that we met with today, was how much hope, joy, and love is still in Texas. And I just pray that that flows throughout the world and grows in the United States and beyond. We will continue with the infrastructure recovery. We expect search and rescue to continue for the next couple days, the waters to peak -- hopefully within two days. And then as they recede, we can get out of the search and rescue mode and more further into recovery for the survivors in the area. And again, I thank you, and it's an honor to be here and be able to support this and take the energy back to DHS, where we will continue to work with the people of Texas. Thank you. I'd like to turn it over now to Secretary Chao. SECRETARY CHAO: Thank you. Today has been a very emotional and yet inspiring day as you have heard from the Governor, the Vice President, and also Secretary Duke. The Department of Transportation is doing everything possible to support Governor Abbott and the people of Texas. We are making available more than $100 million in financial support to meet the infrastructure needs of Texas. There's approximately $350 million impending Department of Transportation funds available to Texas between today and the end of the fiscal year, October 1st-September 30th. The Department has over 40 staff in the Modal Administration's ground, air, transit, railways, waterways on the ground coordinating, getting transit assets back up and running, finding drivers of buses and trucks, for example. And a team from the Federal Highways Administration has been on the ground before the storm even made landfall providing technical assistance to the Texas Department of Transportation. We are working with the state of Texas to reopen the airports. So far, as you have heard, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, Houston IAH, Houston Hobby, and Victoria are open in some capacity. Beaumont Airport remains closed except for military flights. Roads in the impacted areas continue to be inundated with water, with many closures. We are learning more by the hour, and are working with our state partners to assess conditions as quickly as the water recedes. We have also identified more than 200 engineers who can be on the scene within 48 hours to begin expedited inspections of roads and bridges so we can be on the way to recovery. Our crisis center is manned 24/7 to monitor critical infrastructure. We also have a special hotline for first responders and others who need to know how to get around blocked routes. And just an hour ago I've signed an executive order at the request of Governor Abbott, basically waiving the requirements to allow expedited fuel deliveries from 25 surrounding states to help the delivery fuel to Texas because one of the things that we are learning is the declining supplies of aviation, oil, gasoline, all sorts of fuel supplies. So, Governor, we have waived that requirement and you've got. GOVERNOR ABBOTT: Thank you. We need it. You're a blessing. (Applause.) SECRETARY CHAO: I was once Secretary of Labor, so I cannot forget the current Secretary of Labor Alexis Acosta. Alexi? SECRETARY ACOSTA: Thank you. Today was a difficult day. We saw a lot of destruction. But we also saw individuals, Texans that were here, as the Governor said, helping each other. Texans helping Texans. And my takeaway today is that Texans are survivors. They are helping each other. They are solving their problems. The President also wants to make sure, however, that all of us in the Cabinet are here to support the Governor and to support his efforts. And so there are individuals that may be wondering what will happen to my job. Will it be there? Will I have to retrain? And so the Department of Labor is making available to the state of Texas $30 million to assess workforce needs from the Dislocated Worker Fund. We've also approved disaster unemployment insurance so that those individuals that do not qualify otherwise through unemployment insurance can have access to a means to make it by until they find a job. Today, we saw individuals that are going to survive and are going to rebound because they are resilient. They are determined to rebuild, and they have incredible character. And that's a testament to the people of this state, and that part of it was the best takeaway from today. Thank you, Governor. And we have with us, as well, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary Shulkin. SECRETARY SHULKIN: Good afternoon. We have over 528,000 veterans in the affected area, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is here to make sure that they're getting the care they need. Our medical centers have remained open throughout Texas and Louisiana. And although some of our out-patient centers have been damaged, every day, we're getting more and more of those opened up. I'm very proud of the men and women that serve in the Department of Veterans Affairs to make sure that fulfill that mission. As many people said, today was an amazing day, and I was honored to be with the Vice President and Mrs. Pence, and the Governor and my fellow Cabinet members. Wherever we went today we saw amazing volunteers. And no surprise, many of them were veterans. And again, those people who have stood up to serve their country -- put their life on their country -- continue to serve even after they come back. Veterans are amazing people who are giving to their community, and I was so proud to be with them today and to be able to see this firsthand. I'm now going to turn this back to the Vice President who will take some questions. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Questions for me or for the Governor from any of the press. Q Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Darlene Superville, Associated Press. How soon will the administration send its initial disaster aid request to Congress? How large will it be? And do you think this funding should be offset by budget cuts? Thank you. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Darlene. And let me say that the administration has already been in contact with members of Congress about a supplemental appropriations bill to deal with the immediate needs of federal assistance for individuals, as well as assistance to businesses that are recovering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. And we expect Congress to move quickly on the initial legislation, and we'll be working very diligently in the opening weeks of Congress to accomplish that. But let me say we're very confident that members of Congress in both political parties appreciate the historic nature of this storm and understand the enormous burden that it's placed on families and communities here in Texas. And we anticipate strong and bipartisan support for that measure. I will tell you that decisions with regard to overall budgeting will be based on decisions that are made by members of Congress and by the President. But as I've done in the past, I look forward to strongly supporting the President's leadership as we make sure that Texas in real-time -- because we're still in the midst of rescue option and a recovery operation that's unfolding before us -- that in real-time has the resources, and that no Texan should doubt as they apply for available federal assistance, no small business or business that's affected should doubt that this administration, this Congress will come together and make sure those resources are there. Q Mr. Vice President, Matthew Seedorf, NBC/Fox San Antonia. We've spoken to numerous people that have lost everything from this hurricane. I'm sure you have, as well. And they're terrified because they say FEMA is not getting back to them. What advice do you have for them specifically? THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm going to ask Elaine to come forward. But at this point I can tell you as of this morning, we have actually had more than 311,000 citizens who have gone online or telephoned in to register for disaster assistance. And I am pleased and I think Texans should be encouraged to know that we've already distributed more than $530 million in assistance. But as we focus on the rescue operation, and as of this morning there were still 900 calls per hour coming in, and saving lives has been the number one priority of the Governor, of the President, of all of us, and continues to be. We just urge people to take every opportunity that they have -- whether it's by telephone or online -- to apply for that federal assistance and know that help is on the way. And we'll make sure that every Texan and every Texas business that it is entitled to federal support receives that support. Elaine, did you want to add to that? ACTING SECRETARY DUKE: Yes. I support everything the Vice President said. If you can get online, the best way to apply is online because you can enter a lot of the data that way. You're insurance, how to get back to you -- that is the best way if it's possible. If not, use the phone banks. We are -- I'll call it triaging. So there's people that have mortgage payments due that are currently not in situations where they need immediate assistance, so we are prioritizing based on that. Additionally, one of the challenges of individual assistance for this disaster is going to be the broad scope of where the floods were and how long the flood waters are lasting. So we can't even get in there to start looking at damage to homes yet. But I would say if you have immediate needs, call back. We're setting up a joint office here where all the federal resources. If you haven't heard back in a day or two and would like to check on your application online or call and follow up. But if you're not a priority, it could take a couple days. GOVERNOR ABBOTT: I want to add one important piece of information, and that is to go online go to DisasterAssistance.gov -- DisasterAssistance.gov. If you're in one of the counties that's been declared a federal disaster, you can get assistance. And we urge you to go online and register as quickly as possible at DisasterAssistance.gov. Q Mr. Vice President, Jennifer Jacobs from Bloomberg News. Going back to offsets, sir, do you still stand by your position from 2005 that disaster relief funding should be offset by cuts elsewhere? And can you tell us what the Trump administration's position will be on offsets, please? THE VICE PRESIDENT: I know that President Trump's top priority right now is focusing on rescue and recovery efforts. We're going to be working very diligently -- and already begun to work with the Congress to make sure that full resources to backstop those efforts, to provide for recovery, and ultimately to provide for rebuilding communities that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey is there. I was very pleased. Before I was a Vice President, before I was a governor, I was a member of Congress. And I was very pleased to support federal disaster funding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But in the months that followed that, I was also part of an effort in Congress to find savings in the budget to pay for that. And I would leave those decisions to members of Congress and to the President of the United States, as we move forward. But I can tell you right now that the focus of President Trump, myself, the focus of this governor, our entire administration, and I believe the focus of every member of Congress, the local congressman of whom is with us today, Congressman Blake Farenthold, will be to work together on a bipartisan basis and make sure that none of the families that are feeling that anxiety we just heard about in the last question have any reason to be concerned that the resources will be there, the assistance that the American people have approved will be available. And as communities prepare to recover and to rebuild, I'm very confident that members of both political parties will work with our administration to move the legislation forward to rebuild Texas bigger and better than ever before. Q Hi, Mr. Vice President, Elizabeth Landers representing the network pool today. Just wondering after seeing the damage here today with your members of the Cabinet, what do you think is going to be the hardest part of rebuilding Texas? Anything specific? THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I will tell you -- and I know I speak for everyone gathered here -- that the sights and sounds and conversations we had today were just overwhelming. I think the resilience of the people of Texas has been inspiring. To see people who have gone through the horror of one of the largest natural disasters in American history, to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, passing out food to their neighbors, helping their neighbors clear out their homes with a smile on their faces, it's humbling to me. And it's deeply inspiring. But I would tell you the long term challenge here will be -- is getting people back into their communities and into their homes. When we were in Rockport today, as I shared with the Governor, we heard from families and some high school students that were just very anxious to get back in their school. They wanted to have their senior year in their school in Rockport. And we talked to families that were anxious to get back in their homes. I know as of this morning, FEMA had prepositioned some 2,000 manufactured homes. We've ordered another 4,000. We're looking to secure additional housing. The priority will be once we work our way through the rescue efforts, which are ongoing, and we move through recovery and then rebuilding, the priority of our administration working very closely with Governor Abbott and his administration is to get people back in their communities, get people back on their streets as quickly as possible. And so housing and finding available housing will be a long-term challenge. But again, the sheer magnitude of this storm, its impacts that we saw on the ground from the air are not lost on anyone here. The President was deeply moved by the suffering and the struggle of the people of Texas when he was here on Tuesday. And he and the First Lady will be returning this Saturday. And we're just going to stay with the people of Texas all the way through in not just the weeks and months but very likely the years that it will take for us to rebuild southeast Texas -- and we know we will with these good and strong people -- bigger and better than ever before. Thank you all very much.

Remarks by President Trump at Made in America Roundtable

Jul. 19

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, who's going to make the first presentation? I want to buy something. (Laughter.) But only if it's made in America, right? (Applause.) I want to thank you all. And Michael was a supporter of ours right from the beginning, which I really appreciate. It's good to see you here. It's fantastic. And I actually bought a couple of pillows, and they're very good. I have to tell you, they're great. I've slept so much better ever since. (Laughter.) So, thank you very much, Michael. Good afternoon and welcome to the White House. We're here today to continue our celebration of American manufacturing as part of Made in America Week. The leaders and innovators around this table create the products that fill our homes, defend our nation, and enrich our lives. And each one of these products proudly carries the label, Made in the USA. Do you remember in the old days? We used to say "Made in the USA." That was when we really had great pride in our product. And you do -- but unfortunately we've lost a little something, but we're gaining it back very quickly. You see the stock market hit a new high? Jobs are the lowest they've been. Best jobs before we've had in, I think, 16 years. Unemployment numbers -- fantastic, how we're doing. But we're also going to take care of the 95 million people out there that aren't working. And we have to remember that's not really part of the statistic. I've been talking about that for a long time. And when we got those great reports, I kept saying, you know, those numbers -- whether it's 4.2, 4.3 -- I said, for a long time they don't matter. But now I accept those numbers very proudly. I say they do matter. But we're doing very well with the jobs and the jobs reports, and we're doing very well with companies. We're really moving along. From day one, my administration has been fighting to bring back our manufacturing jobs and to crack down on foreign countries that cheat. Got a lot of them. We will end the theft of American prosperity, and we will stand up for our companies, our factories, and our workers. Is that okay with you, Michael? Good? (Applause.) Made in America is more than a label or a product, and it's just something so important to us. It's a stamp of excellence. It's a badge of honor and a tribute to the tremendous skill of the working men and women who design and build these incredible masterpieces and different products of all types. When American workers have a level playing field, they cannot be beaten. They have not had a level playing field in a long time. But you see what's happening. It's step by step. We've gotten rid of regulations and a lot more are coming. We have some statutory requirements where we're not allowed to do it until certain dates. But they're coming as fast as those dates come. We've opened it up, and it's made a big difference for the farmer, for the homebuilder, for so many -- and for the manufacturers. That's why we want to ensure the integrity of the Made in America label. My administration is committed to working with the private sector to ensure the protection of Made in America and the label through efforts like certification, greater transparency, and stricter enforcement efforts by agencies like the Federal Trade Commission. We will have zero tolerance for illegal counterfeiting, piracy, theft, or intellectual property. And they, really -- they take our intellectual property like we're a bunch of babies. But no longer. And false claims that a product is made in America. And as time goes by, the value of Made in America is going to be greater and greater, so you're going to see more and more of this. There was a time when people didn't want to use that name and they wouldn't take that name. Now they're taking it, and that's because it's become -- we've become very proud of it again. Around the world, the Made in America label is the gold standard for craftsmanship quality and artistry. And that is one more reason why we have to protect it. I mean, we have to protect it. Not for you, not for me, but for your children and for your grandchildren -- because that's what's happening. So we must protect it from illegal theft and from abuse. The Made in America movement is growing rapidly under my administration, and we're more determined than ever to protect our jobs, our industry, and our workers. Every day we are putting America first. And, as you know, during our campaign, I had a slogan -- a few of you may have heard it -- it's called "Make America Great Again." Did you ever hear that slogan? I think so. (Applause.) And I want to thank our great Michael. Thank you for being here, by the way. And Secretary Acosta is here. And you have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time. And I know you are going to say a few words, so why don't you go ahead? Thank you, Mr. Secretary. SECRETARY ACOSTA: Mr. President, thank you. And thank you for your leadership. While we were waiting for you to walk in, we had short conversations. And I just wanted to tell you a few things that I heard from your guests here today. American workers are the best in the world. American workers are passionate. Made in America matters, because when products are made in America, Americans care about what they're doing, they care about their products because they know the product impacts American lives. And so those are examples of what your guests here told me, and I think examples of why Made in America is so important to this nation, to the economy, and to this nation's workers. And so thank you for your leadership on this issue. THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. So what label do you like better -- Made in America or Made in the USA? Tell me. Think about it. PARTICIPANT: USA. THE PRESIDENT: Think about it. What do you like better? Made in America or Made in the USA? PARTICIPANT: Made in USA. THE PRESIDENT: What do you like? Secretary, how do you feel? SECRETARY ACOSTA: I think Made in America is what we've been talking about. It's known throughout the world. And Made in America works. THE PRESIDENT: It used to be Made in the USA, I think the label that was on a car. Do you know, they were telling me that in Czechoslovakia and other communist countries many years ago, they were so proud of a car if it was made in the United States. They used to take a single dollar and they'd Scotch-tape it up their windshield just to show an American dollar. And that was a long time ago, but that's what they used to do. And maybe somebody is going to be doing that in the future. How do you feel, Michael? Made in the USA or Made in America? MR. LINDELL: I feel Made in the USA. But you know, I've done both. My ads have all been done in the USA. It's the way I feel. THE PRESIDENT: How many pillows did you make last year in the USA? MR. LINDELL: 10 million. THE PRESIDENT: It's nuts. I mean, can you imagine? MR. LINDELL: 30 million so far. THE PRESIDENT: 30 million since. That's fantastic. I know, it's amazing. I heard it's amazing. Peter, what do you like? PARTICIPANT: I love Made in America because it fits in with our Buy American and Hire American -- the two simple rules of the Trump administration. THE PRESIDENT: Okay. What does the media like? Do you like Made in America or Made in the USA? Steve, what do you like -- Made in America or Made in the USA? Huh? PARTICIPANT: Either way. THE PRESIDENT: Either way. They're so quiet all of a sudden. (Laughter.) Well, you make your decision. I think, specifically, Made in the USA was what they had -- Made in the USA. But either is great. Or both. I mean, you could really go both. Although, I think we probably like to settle. What do you like, Mike? PARTICIPANT: I think Made in America. That's just what I've always thought. And to make America great again, you got to make it in America. And I like that. THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. Very good. Are you going to show me some things? Let's go.

Remarks by Vice President Pence at Swearing-In Ceremony for Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta

Apr. 28

THE VICE PRESIDENT: On behalf of the President of the United States, it is my honor to welcome you all today to the Office of the Vice President here at the White House complex for a very important moment in the life of this administration and in our national life, as I administer the oath of office to the 27th Secretary of Labor for the United States of America, Alexander Acosta. (Applause.) We're fortunate to be joined today by his father, Rene, his wife, Jan, and their beautiful and charming daughters, Delia and Rosie. Would you welcome them as well? (Applause.) I also want to thank all of our distinguished guests who have joined us for this important moment, especially Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and all the Hispanic business and community leaders who are here with us today. Thank you for being here on this historic day. This Saturday marks the end of President Trump's first 100 days in office, and as this period draws to a close, it's worth reflecting for just a moment on the optimism and the progress that is sweeping across America, thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump. For nearly 100 days, President Trump has been delivering on the promises that he made to the American people, one after another. He picked a world-class Cabinet, which we're adding to today, which is working around the clock to implement an agenda to make America great again. In Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump kept his promise to nominate a Supreme Court justice in the mold of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia. President Trump has been putting America first -- rebuilding our military, restoring the arsenal of democracy, and he's signing legislation to give our veterans the care that they deserve. In fact, in now just short of 100 days, President Trump has signed 28 bills into law, 30 executive orders -- historic numbers that show that not only is President Trump a man of his word, President Trump is a man of action. (Applause.) And since day one, the President has taken decisive action to get our economy moving again and restore opportunity and prosperity for every American family. President Trump, I always like to say, has a three-part agenda: Jobs, jobs, and jobs. And to kick-start jobs and growth, the President has been slashing through mountains of red tape. He's renewed focus even earlier today on American energy and American energy independence. And just a few short days ago, the President put forward a plan for the biggest tax cut for individuals and businesses in American history. (Applause.) And the result? More than 500,000 new jobs have been created so far this year. Small-business confidence has skyrocketed to its highest level in decades, and for manufacturers, the highest level in two decades. And company after company is announcing plans to invest in our country for the benefit of American workers, American jobs, and America's future. The fact is that President Trump's leadership has been making a difference every single day, and we're just getting started. And with our new Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, the President and I are confident that we will accomplish even more for working Americans and job creators all across this nation. (Applause.) Alex Acosta is the right man at the right time to lead the Department of Labor. Born the son of two Cuban refugees, Alex showed his potential from his earliest days, earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. He went on to clerk for Justice Samuel Alito on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and after a few years in private practice and as a professor at George Mason University School of Law, he entered into the noble path of public service. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Alex to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board. Only one year later, President Bush appointed him to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and two years after that, he became the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Alex, I know you've tried to retire from public service more than once. (Laughter.) In 2009, you did it when you became dean of Florida International University College of Law. But President Trump has now called you back -- called you back to public service, to bring you character, your intellect, and your ability to serve the country. And we couldn't be more grateful. Your service, past, present, and future, is truly a testament to the American Dream and to your own character and your own abilities. I want to thank you again. Thank you for stepping up to serve our country and to serve working Americans at such a time as this. Given your long and distinguished record, your integrity and your leadership, the President and I are absolutely confident that as -- with you as our new Secretary of Labor, we will continue to restore opportunity, prosperity and growth for working Americans now and for generations to come. (Applause.) And so, on behalf of President Trump, it is my great privilege to administer to you the oath of office. Step aside and we'll make it official. (The oath is administered.) (Applause.) SECRETARY ACOSTA: I want to thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the members of the Senate for the privilege of serving as Secretary of Labor. I want to thank my wife, Jan. Her unyielding support and her heartfelt love means the world to me. It's amazing to be loved, and I love her back more than words can really say. And so, thank you. (Applause.) My daughters, Delia and Rosalia, are amazing. They have followed this process in their own way. When President Trump nominated me, I had to sit down and explain to them that we were, if confirmed, moving to Washington, and they wanted to know why. And so I sort of took a pause and I tried to explain what being Secretary of Labor means in words that a four- and then six-year-old could understand. And this is what I said. I said, Daddy helps his students find good jobs, and so the President has asked Daddy to help people all over America find good jobs too. (Applause.) And then it struck me: Explaining the responsibilities of the Secretary of Labor to a four- and a six-year-old really helped me encapsulate so many of the responsibilities of the Department of Labor. Because, as the Vice President said, it is about finding and helping and supporting jobs and job growth. My parents fled a Cuban dictatorship in search of freedom. They met in high school. They fell in love, and they married young. Neither attended college. What an amazing nation this is that the son of refugees who forwent an education to support a family could be standing here in this room, taking this oath, administered by the Vice President of the United States. That is what America is about. (Applause.) My parents' experience is part of who I am and frames my perspectives that I will bring to the important responsibilities of the Department of Labor. We have a lot of work to do. Too many Americans have seen jobs go overseas. Too many Americans have seen jobs filled by foreign workers. And too many Americans see that jobs are available, but that they don't have the skills or the experience to fill those jobs. The skills gap is real and needs to be addressed. Supporting Americans' ability to find good jobs, safe jobs is a priority for President Trump, for Vice President Pence, and for me. I am honored and I am profoundly humbled to be called in service of this important effort. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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