July 30th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
1 year 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. Cawfee

    Increase individuals income tax, cut corporate tax rates? Leave healthcare in the hands of the already impoverished Americans while businesses get at least a year off from "obamacare"? Monitor every move we make because eventually the American Slaves will realize it's time to stand up for ourselves.

    Stop riding on our backs as we struggle to survive and start taking back the money that was stolen from us.

    July 30, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. pat pat

    So disappointed! No longer care what he has to say about anything.

    July 30, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Garrett from Texas

    Even the Democrats, in this very article, claims the President doesn't want to go into details on the plan he just wants you to know he has a grand bargain.

    July 30, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. mike

    We should reward companies who create jobs in America for Americans and remove them for companies that do not.
    Example – Company offshores 1000 jobs increase taxes, company creates 1000 new jobs decrease taxes.
    No BS no hidden taxes loop holes just straight up numbers.

    July 30, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. James

    It would be nice if our so called representatives would negotiate and compromise to get something done. SMH

    July 30, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. rc

    I don't believe very much of anything this guys says.
    He neglected to announce the 40,000 plus jobs the State Department says the Keystone pipeline would create.

    July 30, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Saboth

    Doesn't matter what he has. If it's positive for American, Republicans are against it.

    July 30, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Maestro Cam

    Good luck getting the republicans to pass anything that Obama proposals. The system is broken. I think we should change to a European parliamentary style system.

    July 30, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    "You just blasted tax cuts and spending as the means to stimulate a slow economy. That leaves only one other path, spending cuts, which we know does only one thing; suck money out of the economy."
    -----–
    WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Government spending is funded by taxes. Two-thirds – 67% – of the economy is consumer spending. Take the ability to spend away from the consumer, via taxation, and those dollars come directly out of the economy.

    July 30, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Tinisha

    Im confused what is so wrong with rebuilding our bridges and roads. Investing in education programs that get people high paing jobs. Whats wrong with putting people back to work through govenement incentive. Obvioulsy the tax cut did not help to create jobs. I dont understand how people could be against this plan. When I say people I mean normal everyday people. We all know that Congress is full of a bunch of idiots but the American public need programs like these to help the economy and their own pockets books. Why do people go against their best interest to to hate a person they have never met. Its sad really.

    July 30, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. JayJay

    It only took him how many years to come up with an idea?

    July 30, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Bill.x

    It does not matter what jobs creation plan anybody proposes, as Republicans have made the determination that any legislation that helps the president achieve any goal will not be supported by them – even if it hurts wage earners or the economy. That is the goal they publically stated and are following. This is what the Libertarian and Tea party wing of the Republican Party is forcing down regular Republican's throats because they have the backers with money to take-out any Republican who does not go along. This is the new Republican Party. They said they don't care if it ruins the Republican Party or the country. They can do a better job than Al Qaeda to ruin us all.

    July 30, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Susan

    Is Mr Obama still going to push states for legislation to prevent employers from running criminal background checks?

    July 30, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. jon

    Corporations gave away millions of our good-paying jobs to other countries over these past few decades. Now it is all coming home to roost. Surprise, surprise.

    July 30, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. pogojo

    Please no more green energy failure programs.

    July 30, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Allison Powers

    The only one who offers up "grand bargains ' without offering up details is the devil. Let's not be that stupid.

    July 30, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. bill collins

    Yes every time this clown does something the opposite occurs. Lets see we still haven't replaced the total number of jobs lost in the economy form 2007/2008 and were supposed to believe this community organizer who has attacked every aspect of job creation in 5 years of office is now going to create high paying full time jobs? Oh yes I believe hahahahaha!!!

    July 30, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Josh

    Cut corporate taxes AND create new federal programs? Where's the money going to come from? The working poor and middle class, as usual. Gah. I realize this is yet another futile attempt to compromise with the GOP, but any concessions to them invariably take the form of sticking it to the working stiff. One step forward, two steps back.

    July 30, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Robert

    The president's plan would propose slashing the corporate tax rate to 28% from 35% while making the filing process simpler

    How about 0% fool.

    July 30, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Reading these comments makes me think that the proverbial "dead horse" came back reincarnated as Obama so that you could beat it some more.
    It appears that the only news some of you are willing to believe for as long as this man is in office is bad news, and when that is in short order you make it up via your nontroversies.
    You wear me, my psyche, and my heart out.

    July 30, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Jeb

    From the perspective of obstructionist Republicans, the worst thing that could possibly happen is for the economy to fully recover and jobs to be plentiful. They would rather see the country fail than see a Democratic President pull us out of the hole that they left us in.

    July 30, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    We need to get rid of the single most ridiculous corporate tax deduction there is. Multi-national corporations wind up paying taxes of some type in several countries for manufacturing sites in those countries. U.S. companies are allowed to *deduct* those foreign taxes on their U.S. tax returns. That means that they can set up their manufacturing overseas virtually tax-free.

    Because they are permitted to deduct foreign taxes off of their U.S. obligations, that means that U.S. taxpayers are paying the foreign taxes owed by multi-national corporations.

    July 30, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. JY

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

    The GOP will never agree to this, 1.) China gives much to the congressional employment acts, this would hinder those contributions. 2.) it helps the average person

    July 30, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. sally hodges

    At least President Obama has a plan to create jobs, not reward companies who take our jobs offshore, rebuild the infrastructure and reduce the business tax so more companies can take root in America.

    Like usual, the Party-Of-No only criticizes without coming up with a plan of their own. The GOP fails to understand that Americans are fed up with their grand standing. If Republicans in Congress don't want to do their jobs – and compromise is part of that job – then they should be fired. America's economy and growing the middle class are more important than playing partisan politics.

    July 30, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. CatSh

    The Republicans are making the same mistake they have made for the last 2 elections. They have let Obama get the jump on them in putting out ideas to improve the economy and create jobs.
    They reacted the same way they did before – criticized the plan and offered none of their own.
    If they don't get off their bums and come up with some proposals, they will let Obama paint them as the old, idea-less, party of 'no' again.
    Unless Republicans get moving and stop being such a disappointment, they are headed for another election loss.
    Come on, guys! You're better than this! Get your house in order and show us the ideas!

    July 30, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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