DETROIT -- Vice President Mike Pence touted President Donald Trump's tax reform plan on a trip to Michigan on Thursday, saying steep cuts to business taxes are exactly what American manufacturing needs to remain competitive.
Addressing workers and selected guests at an American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc. operation in Auburn Hills, Mich., Pence said the plan will help companies grow in the U.S. and bring dollars outsourced abroad back home.
American Axle is one such company. The company is General Motors' former axle-making division and a longtime supplier to the automaker that was criticized for negotiating concessions from its union in Detroit and then shifting production to Mexico.
In 2009, American Axle moved powertrain parts production from Detroit to Mexico, a move that nixed about two-thirds of the more than 700 unionized factory jobs at the plant.
Along the campaign trail and while in office, Trump has singled out and threatened manufacturers for moving operations outside the U.S. and praised those expanding or building domestic plants.
"It's companies like American Axle that make America great," Pence said on Thursday. "You have more than 25,000 employees today, and in just the past few years American Axle has invested more than $150 million right here in Michigan in the good old U.S.A."
Pence focused on one portion of the proposed tax reform plan that slices the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent -- a measure he said would allow businesses to pay workers more and offer more jobs domestically.
The vice president said the new plan gives small businesses the same sort of breaks it gives large corporations, breaks they need to survive.
"Our tax code stifles American job creators. Every major developed country has a lower business tax rate than the United States," Pence said. "We're one of the only countries in the world that taxes every dollar our companies earn overseas."
"President Donald Trump will be the best friend American manufacturing will ever have," he added.
The tax reform plan also would cut the top individual income tax rate to 35 percent from 39.6 percent, and includes a new 25 percent rate for so-called pass-through businesses that are currently taxed at the individual rate.
The GOP plan would end taxes on the profits that multinational companies earn outside the country and allow those companies to repatriate past profits at a discounted rate. In addition, for at least five years, the plan would allow companies to write off the cost of investments immediately, rather than deducting those costs over time as they do now.
Only people earning more than $418,000 currently pay the top individual tax rate, which would be eliminated under the plan.