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. Marie MD

    The rethugs won't go for it. It doesn't help the rich and thy don't care about the 47%+ anyway.

    July 30, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  2. Wake up People!

    Good luck President Obama, you're going to need it, but I suspect they will continue to be the party of HELL NO TO ANYTHING OBAMA, for the duration of your term. They could care less about us little people with their cushy jobs, great healthcare for life and nice pensions.

    July 30, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Obama will suggest Congress cut corporate tax rates – long a goal of Republicans – while simultaneously making jobs investments, which Democrats and the president have been championing.
    ---------------------------------------------–
    Here comes the second term press. He's making republicans an offer they can't refuse. But who knows with today's republicans. They oppose legislation they once supported all because Pres. Obama is proposing it. Let's see how this plays out. Immigration, the debt ceiling and JOBS are now on the table.

    July 30, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  4. HenryMiller

    When Democrats say "investment," what they really mean is "hammer some people with more taxes in order to give the proceeds to other people they like."

    July 30, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. repealobamacare

    "Significant investment" = Lots of spending and government growth

    .

    July 30, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    Good luck Mr. President, I suspect you're going to need it. The GOP will continue to be the party of Hell No to Any and Everything Obama for the duration of your term. Their one and only goal is for history to see you as a failed POTUS, to ensure there is never another fluke, and no other person that looks anything like you ever make it to the Oval Office again. They failed at making you a one term POTUS, so they are working overtime to achieve their new goal. And if millions more fall into poverty, oh well, that's our fault for voting in an experienced, unqualified, marxist, socialist. Que sera sera. Though I'm still trying to figure out how a new President could EVER have experience at being POTUS, but that only applies to President Obama.

    July 30, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    You can no longer have a family of four with a single middle class wage earner that can afford to buy a house. There used to be a time when you could, decades ago. That's the America that the right wing wants to see make a return. Too bad that they can't see that they are the ones who destroyed it.

    July 30, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. MikeMC

    Let's see how the GOP sabotages this idea...

    July 30, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    Doesn't matter what he proposes – the rethugs will whine, cry and obfuscate because they KNOW that DESPITE their wholesale obstructionism and manufacture of so-called "scandals" the President is slowly dragging our backsides out of the ditch the rethugs drove us into. And if they agree to any legislation that may speed up the recovery process they'll enrage their deep-pocketed owners whose sole desire is to destroy the middle class in some sort of distopian fantasy, consigning us all to serf/indentured servant status, there to cater to their needs until we drop in our tracks, at which time they'll kick us into the dirt and put a new serf/indentured servant in our place.

    Mr. President, take a page from the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's playbook and run roughshod over your detractors while declaring them un-American, and accusing them of not supporting the troops. However, unlike the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, you'd be doing it for the right reasons.

    July 30, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  10. RIchard Long

    Weatherperson: "More hot air pushing across the country from Washington. Still no end in sight for this economic drought"/

    July 30, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. Dixie

    Ok that sounds great but what does he want in return? There is never a give without a take. We only have half the story.

    July 30, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. Jesse

    Does anyone else see this guy as a job killer or is it just me?

    July 30, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  13. Terik Ororke

    That sounds positive!

    July 30, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  14. Fair is Fair

    At least he's on the right track with respect to lowering the corporate tax rate.

    July 30, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  15. onlyfacts

    Dems need to start playing hard ball. I'm so tired of Harry Reid complaining in his little soft voice. The party of NO needs to be exposed on a daily basis. Boehner will not let this get anywhere, even though they've wanted these tax breaks. Dems have 2014 in the bag if they can learn how to play tough.

    July 30, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  16. Yes1fan

    Corporations will find a way to cheat.
    Their allegiance is with themselves, and only the countries willing to serve them.

    July 30, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  17. callmecrazy

    Republicans will now be against corporate tax reform, just because Obama is supporting it.

    July 30, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  18. Jerry

    Snake oil, snake oil!!! At reasonable prices... Spend, spend, spend........

    Does this GUY (Obama) hate América or what?!

    July 30, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. Fed Up

    Sounds great, but it will surely end up just being political rhetoric, another tactic to shift focus from all of his scandals!

    July 30, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  20. John

    President Obama does not get the fact that the Republicans don't care about more tax cuts for the richest as much as they want to see the country struggle. They clearly do not want job recovery or a growing economy; they just want to muck up the system as much as they can for their own personal gain. Everything they see as being able to hurt America becomes a bargaining chip for them. The Debt ceiling is a perfect example. No one thinks not raising it will do anything but harm the country, and they see that as something to threaten the president with. You cannot negotiate with political terrorist and that is all the GOP has become.

    July 30, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  21. Brock Landers

    What kind of investments again? more schools for more teachers and supporting the teacher's union? manufacturing infrastructure, what does that mean again?

    July 30, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  22. Jesse

    Everyone Look its an everlasting Job stopper

    July 30, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. tpbco

    Okay....cut corp tax rates, while making job investments.

    Where's the money going to come from?

    Gee, can't wait to find out.

    July 30, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  24. jaana

    a minimum wage job (no matter what minimum wage is) and part time so you have to go on public health insurance is NOT a bargain. can he work on governing and get out of the economy because he is ruining it.

    July 30, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  25. jnpa

    Since this is something the President is proposing, the GOP will never agree to it. Even if it is something they have been wanting and fighting for, they will never accept it. They would rather destroy American than agree to anything Obama proposes!

    July 30, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
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