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. 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 behinds 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 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Common sense

    China is taking all our money we have a whole in our pockets

    July 30, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Rich

    More of the same from Republicans – Bash any plan Obama has, while offering nothing as an alternative.

    July 30, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. LinSea

    Ooooh, yippee. A grand scheme for corporations while small businesses are being taxed and regulated into oblivion. For some reason I find it hard to contain my enthusiasm.

    July 30, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Brandon

    Republicans , not receptive? Imagine that.

    July 30, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. 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 come up with some proposals, they will let Obama paint them as the old, idea-less, party of 'no' again.

    July 30, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Bev Varnado

    Don't wait for those jobs. They'll never happen. If any of you still believe anything he says you're very naïve or want to go along with his agenda to destroy America.

    July 30, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Dave

    In the quick talking points of this article, this sounds good. However, the devil is in the details of which there is admittedly none. Therefore, until the details are know, anyone solidly supporting or rejecting this plan are ignorant.

    July 30, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Jeb

    The GOP made the 112th Congress the least productive on record, earning them a 6% approval rating. And yet, they’ve had the time to vote to repeal Obamacare 37 times.

    July 30, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Russ

    Figures Republicans would be against all of the following! Stupid is as stupid does!

    "Today what he is saying is that he would be willing to go forward with corporate tax reform if it is part of a larger package that includes critical investments in things like infrastructure, manufacturing and innovation hubs and community college training to help close existing and future skill gaps,"

    July 30, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. bmac

    Just putting a comment in so they can hack my email and see what i am up to...Plus worst president in history....3 more years...please go fast.

    July 30, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Bill

    Hold on - we give tax incentives to send our jobs overseas while we have high unemployment? What the heck?

    July 30, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Jeb

    The idea of effective government in America was dealt a crushing blow when Republicans plotted on Inauguration night in 2009 to oppose and obstruct anything the newly installed President proposed, and after tea baggers helped Republicans win a majority in the 2010 midterm elections, government has all but failed to serve the people.

    It is no wonder then, that confidence in Congress has steadily declined as Republicans have openly obstructed President Obama’s attempts to create jobs, grow the economy, and advance policies to serve the people whether it is consumer protections, effective social programs, or national security.

    July 30, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 obama

    The best way to increase employment is to DUMP obamacare. Just ask the unions AND employers. Obama just wants to appear to be doing something.

    July 30, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. Bette Lynne Marranco

    As a retired schoolteacher who was a single parent and in a 35% tax bracket all my professional life this is a slap in the face. Especially when the IRS is coming after my son who has never earned more than 20 thou a year or had any benefits for not filing during years when he was unemployed. Why are the people, as in "we the" no longer a concern to the officials who elected them? Big disappointment, Barrack Obama.

    July 30, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. p.c.fulton

    If you want job creation, we all need to buy american made....period! This is not a union point of veiw, just common sense.Matter of fact i think that anyone or any company that outsources should be charged with treason. That would keep them from pouring u.s.a dollars overseas.

    July 30, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Susan

    Republicans have always and always will look out for the wealthy. If you peel dowon all the layers, at some point you will see that their plans and policies are intended to help the weathy. You can take that to the bank . . . . 100% guarantee.

    July 30, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. MazeAndBlue

    The obstructionist party at it again. They will feel the wrath in 2014 – 2016.

    July 30, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Scott Cisney

    Eventually, at least SOME people, maybe even reasonable republicans, will realize the republicans in the house and senate only want to oppose anything he proposes. I would think that would become unacceptable for people at some point, but I am always amazed at the confusion generated whenever he proposes something. The republicans seem to be able to get people to think they are going along, but something is wrong with his proposal or he won't compromise on this or that and in the end many think the fault lies at the feet of both parties. Which is not true. No reasonable observer of politics can conclude that. The hatred towards the president has long ago convinced me that we have about 1/2 the country that is racist and intractable in their thinking. I used to feel sorry for the misfortune many have endured in the last five years, but my capacity for empathy has diminished when I remind myself that ALL of these defective republicans won elections...we deserve what we have.

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

    Interesting that the GOP deride the plan because of investing in infrastructure and "opportunity centers" which works brilliantly in Germany. What's the beef about infrastructure? Without it, manufactured goods can't get to market. It would also provide jobs, something, if memory serves, the GOP rode into power in 2010. So if the GOP doesn't like what is proposed, where are their plans?

    July 30, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Hemi1

    How can a man who only held one private sector job (as an ice-cream cone scooper for Baskin-Robins); have a grand bargain plan about ANY jobs or job enhancement for the private sector? Where's the background experience from a voice or voices of authority who have been there, done that? Ignorance on this subject almost exceeds his ignorance on firearms and the 2nd amendment. Pity, we have nothing in the executive branch nor congressional branch worth depending or relying on these days; for voices of authority or experience. Sad shape of things here & to come.

    July 30, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Michel

    Rather than just saying "NO" to everything that the President says – how about Republicans try to come up with a plan that puts people to work, rebuilds our infrastructure, invests in our future, shrinks the wealth gap and reduces the deficit?

    July 30, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. basic math fail

    Money in bank = money in – money out. Cutting taxes on big business reduces money in and subsizing anything means increasing money out. Does anyone else see the problem with this plan to "reduce the deficit"?

    July 30, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. deuely

    Obama has not insisted on slashing corporate tax rates. That is a boldface lie.

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

    Looks like the same to me. Blame the republicans for Obamas failures. What a joke. If your a liberal or democrat and you still support this liar in chief well then....There is no hope & change for you.

    July 30, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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