July 30th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
9 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. Me

    Well, at least he's trying to do something – unlike the Republicans who wont do anything and wont support anybody else.

    July 30, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Jason

    I'd swear that Obama thinks he is still running for office. He has never stopped campaigning and giving speeches form his teleprompter, except when he is away on a nice vacation. Those are the only things he knows how to do. The guy never had a real job or had to manage money or anything...what do you expect?

    July 30, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. humtake

    More of the same. The party not in power refusing to work with the party that is in power while the party that is in power keeps releasing statements to get headlines to show they are only doing what is good for America when in reality they are doing what is good for their party. Notice a theme?

    July 30, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Tdog

    The only reason businesses will hire more workers is if DEMAND is going up. Tax cuts don't mean more demand. Putting more $$ in consumers pockets is the ONLY way to increase demand. It's amazing that this simple concept is completely disregarded by this administration.

    July 30, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. keeth

    Obama could offer everything the GOP wants, and they would still refuse it out of pure spite. Party Over Country! Vote GOP/Tea!

    July 30, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Rebecca

    NO MORE TAX CUTS FOR CORPORATIONS! It has never produced jobs and will not produce jobs... they are bloated with money, to the tune of $1.8 trillion that they are sitting on... and still no jobs.

    July 30, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Once again, the President is reaching across the aisle to make progress and once again, the right wing/ Faux "News" consumers criticize him.

    July 30, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. James

    Obama has been fighting the rainmakers since he has been in office. To know that there is enough cantankerous Americans out there to keep some of the wet blanket republicans in office is beyond belief. I hope the sun stays out for a while.

    July 30, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. TrueIndependent

    Amazon is going to hire 7000.......Obama swoops in to take credit!

    Bad beliefs, bad policies, bad for the future generations....... NEXT!

    July 30, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Jim

    I applaud the vision of the bargain, but how will the tax cuts be paid for? Increased taxes on the rich? (Formerly known as middle class, but no reclassified as rich). Will the administration cut spending? It will be interesting to see how the cuts are made up in the long run.

    July 30, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. skarphace

    the rt side: Really what did you except from a community organizer that never ran anything.

    Seriously, it is "expect", not "except". If you want to make a valid point, at least learn English first.

    July 30, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Dem Insanity

    Dems sound like an addicted gambler. Spend, spend, take out a loan and spend, sooner or later I'm gonna get lucky and get it all back! You can only double down so many times before it's time to get hit.

    July 30, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. TrueIndependent

    Detroit is the democratic party model......big Unions, big handouts........How did that turn out?

    July 30, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Lame duck

    Obama's done, he might not have been a "bad" president, but he's the most ineffectual I've seen in my lifetime.

    July 30, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Ctrygrl

    Sorry but cutting corporate taxes without eliminating corporate subsidies and welfare(call it what it is) is just plain stupid. Republicans preach tax reform but we haven't seen one thing on it out of the house. Mr. Boehner said it all when he said "what president Obama wants". It doesn't really matter to republicans what it is if they believe the President is for it they are against it. This whole country does not pay enough taxes. If more people actually paid taxes then maybe we could have an intelligent discussion on how the money is spent.

    July 30, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. rapierpoint

    Fred Evil

    "So the uncertainty of the ACA (Obamacare) has no effect on jobs and especially full time jobs?"
    Not for PEOPLE. Only for chicken-shiite businesses who are too timid and amoral to provide HEALTH INSURANCE to the people sustaining their existence!
    --------------–
    Guess all the doctors that are retiring or closing their private practices (and going to hospitals – one of thethe biggest source of fraud and waste in the medical profession) and letting their employees go are all too timid and/or amoral? Many run their practices on a shoe-string already because they want to help people, but AHCA was the final straw.

    July 30, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Nothing At All

    Republicans, the party of NO.

    July 30, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. skarphace

    Jesse: still better than the name calling by liberal democrats who whine about minimum wadge being so low.

    The minimum wage is currently at a 30 year low, adjusting for inflation. This is math, not whining. It needs to be raised, and needs to be adjusted for inflation going forwards. Anything else is kicking the can down the road.

    July 30, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. ep451

    Government Employee/Population Ratio (source: Forbes)

    The following table shows the number of government employees, total population and the GE/P Ratio. It essentially takes a snapshot at the end of each presidents term and compares it to the point when they took office.

    End of Term Date # Government Employees (GE) Population (P) GE/P Ratio
    Obama Dec. 2012 21,925 315,255 6.9%
    GW Bush Dec. 2008 22,555 306,004 7.4%
    Clinton Dec. 2000 20,804 283,696 7.3%
    GHW Bush Dec. 1992 18,878 258,413 7.3%
    Reagan Dec. 1988 17,736 246,056 7.2%

    July 30, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Steve Lyons

    Abolishing Federal, State, and Local income taxes on the middle class IS the answer. The middle class is defined as everyone below 150% of the median GROSS income.

    July 30, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. JustAO

    Where is the GOP on jobs?

    Tax cuts for wealthy and complain about Obama...THAT (SERIOUSLY) IS THEIR PLAN FOR JOBS IN AMERICA...

    And they have the nerve to wonder why voters no longer take them seriously and they have to suppress democratic votes in order to win elections when the majority of voters went democratic last two election cycles voting in the black guy instead of an old rich white guy.

    July 30, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. DaveinIL

    The President's latest "grand bargain", like all the rest, reminds me of the character in the old Popeye cartoons who always shows up saying "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
    For Obama it's "If you approve my stimulus package, aka union gift package today, I'll give you corporate tax reform, aka eliminate deductions to raise revenue, next week when I can get the Senate to go along (wink, wink to Reed, Durbin and Schumer).

    July 30, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Frank

    This just in ~ the democrats just admitted their econoimc model is a FAILURE!

    Cutting corporate taxes to create jobs. Thats what Romney and Paul, and anyone with a brain talked about ~ instead you all were snowed by the false messiah hope, change,and forward, and he gave you nothing while SPYING ON YOU.

    2016 ~ Will we make it there? I dont think we will.

    July 30, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Eli Cabelly

    Let me get this straight, Republicans are openly saying that they won't even pass a jobs stimulus bill even if they're bribed with the corporate tax reduction they've wanted all the time?

    I think we can definitely say that the GOP does not want families to have decent jobs.

    July 30, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. 2L

    At least he's on the right track

    July 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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