July 30th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
12 months ago

Obama proposes jobs deal with GOP

Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET on 7/30

(CNN) – A new plan from President Barack Obama that would alter the corporate tax code while investing in job creation is a deal that any "serious" lawmaker could sign onto, the president argued in Tennessee Tuesday.

What Obama called a "grand bargain" is being proposed in a bid to break partisan gridlock currently plaguing attempts to pass major legislation in Washington, though congressional Republicans signaled on Tuesday they were unlikely to back the plan, which the president announced at an Amazon.com distribution center in Chattanooga.

"Here's the bottom line: If folks in Washington really want a 'grand bargain,' how about a grand bargain for middle-class jobs?" Obama said in his fourth speech in a week centered on the economy. "I don't want to go through the same old arguments, where I propose an idea and Republicans say no just because it's my idea. So I'm going to try offering something that serious people in both parties should be able to support."

Obama suggested Congress cut corporate tax rates - long a goal of Republicans - while simultaneously making investments in job creation programs, which Democrats and the president have been championing.

In the past, both Obama and Republicans have insisted that corporate tax reform be passed alongside reform for individual earners. Republicans argue that some small business owners file taxes as individuals, and would only benefit from an overhaul of the entire tax code.

The president's plan would propose slashing the corporate tax rate to 28% from 35% while making the filing process simpler and ramping up incentives for small businesses to hire workers.

The plan would also put the tax rate on manufacturers at 25% and remove current tax incentives to send jobs overseas.

On Tuesday, Obama explained that he's open to changing only the corporate tax code as long as it's combined with major investments in programs that create high-paying middle class jobs.

"If we're going to give businesses a better deal, we're also going to have to give workers a better deal, too," he said, suggesting money saved by closing tax loopholes should be put toward infrastructure initiatives that would create construction jobs.

Obama also called for bolstering the country's manufacturing sector and network of community colleges, and proposed creating 45 "innovation institutes" that pair companies with universities and community colleges with the goal of fostering research and development.

Early reaction from Republicans to the outlines of the president's plan was not receptive.

"While I understand he is looking for headlines here, reports indicate that the policy he intends to announce doesn't exactly qualify as news," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "It is just a further left version of a widely panned plan he already proposed two years ago, this time with extra goodies for tax-and-spend liberals."

McConnell said he first learned of the plan Monday night. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, wrote on Twitter his office learned of the proposed "grand bargain" through media reports, though White House officials said they reached out to a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday to discuss the proposal.

Michael Steel, another spokesman for Boehner, cast the proposal as old news.

"The President has always supported corporate tax reform," Steel wrote in a statement. "Republicans want to help families and small businesses, too. This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama's position on taxes and President Obama's position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind."

Another House Republican leadership aide said the White House was taking their own plan and making it less amenable to Republicans than previous offers, while "trying to extract a ransom of infrastructure spending" at the same time.

The aide argued the new White House plan was an attempt to "get a headline that says they're offering a grand bargain."

Obama's address in Chattanooga is the latest in a series of speeches the president will deliver on the economy and jobs, part of an attempt to turn back to the issue that rates as most important among Americans. The tour began last week in Illinois, Missouri and Florida.

Tuesday's announcement of a "grand bargain" was the first specific proposal the president made in his new push to focus on the economy, though White House officials say there will be more as the initiative continues.

During his remarks, Obama said he'd "keep throwing things out there to see if something takes" on jobs.

"If (Republicans) have better ideas to help create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure, or help workers earn the high-tech skills our businesses demand, let's hear 'em," the president said.

Amazon.com, whose facility Obama spoke at Tuesday, announced this week plans to hire 7,000 workers for its U.S. operation, with most jobs offering pay and benefits far above typical retail wages, the company said.

Amazon did not give specific pay scales for the positions, but said the 5,000 warehouse jobs will pay 30% more than jobs in traditional retail stores.

The jobs are full-time permanent positions and also include stock grants that, over the last five years, have averaged 9% of pay for Amazon's full-time workers. And the company said many workers would also be eligible for 95% tuition reimbursement for those attending college, whether or not their field of study is related to their job.

In addition, Amazon is looking for 2,000 workers for its customer service department, with those jobs being a mix of full-time, part-time and seasonal positions.

CNN's Brianna Keilar, Chris Isidore and Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report.


Filed under: Jobs • President Obama
soundoff (722 Responses)
  1. ProtectAmericanJobs

    We need to start keeping more of OUR money here at home in the USA versus spreading it all over the world.

    I'm really sick of us spending so much our money, time and resources in these totally messed up Middle East countries. We really need to start increasing the safe harvesting, production and distribution of our own natural energy here in the USA, rather than paying for fuel from countries where they hate us. Let’s keep that money and those jobs here in the US.

    Let's start bringing our troops home and start using them to protect our country from the incursion of illegals aliens.

    July 30, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. mbsmith91

    tnsurge....................Let's face it people. Anything the President proposes, even if it is verbatim a Republican plan is going to be meet with opposition by McConnell, Boehner and associates. --------- Guess what, dummy, the opposition party wasn't elected to rubber stamp whatever the loser-in-chief proposes.

    July 30, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. k

    Another stupid idea from the vacant mind of obama.

    July 30, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. dan

    45 new innovational institutes. Our young people can't afford the high cost of higher learning as it is so lets make a few more intitues that are out of reach.
    It is time both Dems and Rep stop playing this little game trying to make us think they are actualy working.
    We cut hours for government workers who probably actualy do work so we can meet our budget but we will offer up 45 new institutes. Same old thing put ideas out there that no side could pass to look like your doing something.
    We are Americans and we are devided by political parties. I believe both parties have lost sight of what is good for us as a whole.

    July 30, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

    JOBS DEAL With Who ?? The GOP ?? How About a "Jobs Deal" w/ the American Middle Class Voters !!!

    July 30, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. brina in DC

    Yawn... Not listening anymore...

    It doesn't matter what Obama says. It all ultimately translates into higher taxes and more federal spending. He's a one trick pony and everyone has figured out his one trick. Three and a half more years of gridlock is looking pretty good right now.

    July 30, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. independant jim

    a waste of time the Tea Party fascists wont go along with anything the president proposes

    July 30, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. Capybara91

    Only thing more repugnant than a Republican is a Democrat trying to appease Republicans. Corporations are already paying 35% of nothing, And an integral part of immigration reform is letting corporations bring in more foreign workers because there just aren't enough qualified Americans.This proposed tax break comes from someone who promised he would spend the next three years working for the middle class. What happened to the first 5 years? The middle class is just a peasant class in denial now.

    July 30, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  9. Numbers guy

    Wow, he's actually proposing lowering the Corporate tax rate 8% and "fixing" the manufacturer tax rate at 25%... which is double today's effective tax rate of 12.1% for manufacturers. And that's incentive to move jobs back to the US?! Moronic. Oh the games he plays and how easy it is to fleece the uneducated who think he's compromising.

    July 30, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  10. Darren Young

    The right kind of tax reform would be the best "jobs bill." Replace payroll taxes and corporate income taxes with a consumption tax. With corporate income taxes abolished, there will be no double taxation of dividends, so go back to taxing dividends as ordinary income. Keep the whole thing revenue neutral. The cost of producing goods and services in America would go down, while the cost of imports would go up. That makes it more attractive to manufacture in the United States. This change would also eliminate the tax corporations face for bringing their foreign profits back to the U.S. Combined, these changes would result in a surge in corporate investment and job creation in the United States. With corporate income taxes abolished, small businesses structured to be taxed at the individual level could elect to be taxed as corporations, eliminating the need for simultaneously reforming individual income taxes.

    July 30, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  11. Kendall

    Jerome

    Republicans are a sad group. All they do is sit back and reject ideas while coming up w/nothing on their own. I guess any group that would come up w/a voucher plan for Medicare is not capable of any kind of forward thought
    ****************************************************************************************************************************************
    Ideas ...many ideas have been proposed....talk to Harry Reid...he would not let them on the floor.....never reported..BUT VERIFIABLE FACT.......................

    July 30, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  12. Kendall

    I'll save everyone a lot of time...."Wealth redistribution"...."it's the GOP's fault"...BLAH..BLAH...BLAH...

    July 30, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  13. John Citizen

    Stop people. Stop. You want a better economy, let the market do it. No more govt spending, it limits money supply. And since we have to pay for lower corp tax rates, NOT LOOP HOLES, spending programs should not be a requirement.

    July 30, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. G.R.R.

    It is LONG past time to vote out the GOP. They are disaster to America.

    July 31, 2013 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  15. Hilda

    It is only theatrical moves...how can a private small business wants a corporate tax cut for new employees they don't need and pay obamacare or penalties. Are u kidding me? Obama thinks that all of us are stupid and he is the cool smart guy of the room.

    July 31, 2013 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  16. totalinfidel

    Strictly huck & jive. Just like the huck and jive move going up the stage stairs..... Yo' Pres, ya' need a new entrance !

    July 31, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  17. addiscangcang

    I think it's a good plan. ^^

    July 31, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. Susan

    besides his 'great bargain' obama is pushing legislation onto states to prohibit employers from running criminal background checks. he says this is discriminatory because of the disproportionate number of african americans who are arrested and spend time in prison. Are we living in bizrro world?

    July 31, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  19. TheInfamousRatman

    Old news. Old deal. Same old stuff. If you really want to offer Republicans a grand bargain, offer a cut for all taxes for your programs. Trade them in one by one. Then we can bicker about cuts to your programs as they rapidly antiquated.

    July 31, 2013 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  20. M.A.P:

    Wow, what a bunch of whiners you all are! Some of the more ridiculous comments ive seen include:
    "Socialist politics posing as a "grand bargain". This guy's counting on public support for his plan, knowing the uneducated masses will never understand he's just selling snake oil.". Ummm health insurance is not snake oil. It's health insurance.

    "The first $6 trillion Obama flushed down the toilet didn't make any of his promises come true (things are actually worse for the middle class now) " – nice statement, care to expand? Perhaps ONE little fact or example might help. You're just making up whatever suits your political view.

    Grow up and stop complaining, right wingers. If you think you can do better, TELL US WHAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE DONE! Don't just sit there and say "NO" to everything.

    July 31, 2013 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  21. 41Mag

    amazing putting a silk shirt on a pig. haven't we heard this before, its called STIMULUS, the community organizer is just putting a new spin on it. ever since the messiah was elected to solve all our problems its only gotten worse. this bozo wants to craft America in his own ideology regardless of what "We the People" want. he won the election but his vision of America as "big brother" taking care of Americans does not set well for the 53% majority.

    July 31, 2013 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  22. Nick

    Yawn – different day, same speech. Obama wants to lower the rate but close loopholes, so essentially the tax reform doesn't put anything back into the business. At the same time he wants more "investment" – basically another stimulus after the first one, plus QE 1-2-3, has worked so well. This is DOA just lie all his other economic reality-challenged ideas.

    July 31, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
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