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. fxalbert

    And from the party of no (no money, no jobs, no nothing) what do we get......no. HEY you folks you want jobs, get rid of these bums.

    July 30, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Scott

    News Flash for the Pres. The Fed Government cannot "create" jobs. The Fed Gov can only kill jobs with bone headed policies on taxes, regulation, etc. Quit trying to monkey around with the economy. Quit trying to penalize people who are successful and they will invest in businesses and create jobs. JUST GET OUT OF THE WAY and the private sector will take over.

    There is no coincidence that Obama has presided over the slowest recovery since the Depression. Both he and FDR tried to tinker with the economy, tax policy, and demonize/penalize the successful.

    Remember, the Govt cannot create jobs, it can only prevent the private sector from creating them!!!

    July 30, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    look for the so called "grand bargain" when the American people actually see it. Not just talk about it. He's been talking about some type of "grand" thing, since 08 . . . the best thing Obama has done so far, is prevent dubya & Paulson & cheney from actually getting their hands on the 787 Bill, when the stock market went south of 5K . . . during dubya's regime . . . I'll have to give credit, where credit is due. The economy has been going on a very slow recovery, ever since, Thanks to the Obama regime . . . trouble is : Bernanke is totally worthless . . . I would rather have the old & senile greenspan, at least he's got a head on his shoulder. The reason that the stock market is doing so well, is because Bernanke keeps pumping more dollars, and keeps on printing more money, and keeps on buying all those bonds & etc. . . and the people at the stock exchange just loves it.

    July 30, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. DJH

    Hmmm, more of the same failed policies – spend, spend spend then point your finger and claim the problem is not enough was spent.
    It's almost comical to hear liberals whine about how the right has no ideas when all dems have done is make the same proposals over and over and over again, using different terms, yet yielding the same failed results.

    July 30, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. DJR

    No you can't cut money to spend money on infrastructure. Biggest puke in business today is their failure to keep their own infrastructure up. 18 wheelers are hard on bridges and roads but want to pay less towards them? Railroads are building new and more but the old is worn to the bone. Airlines don't want to pay rent at airports or up keep just fly in and make money. Concrete and rock companies literally work under mining leases, destroying whole mountains paying little for the loss or material, we're leasing it!

    July 30, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. BC

    Sending all our manufacturing jobs overseas over the last 30 years is what has killed the middle class and made the upper class very wealthy.

    July 30, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. Padraig

    Intereseting article I read in one of the major times newspapers the other day. It stated and had the data behind it that the African American communitry unemployment numbers were considerably worse off under the Obama Administration than under any other administrations since Reagan.

    It was an interesting read.

    July 30, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. WOT

    Congress why don't you wake up; you do no hurt to the President but to the people by being so disgruntal. Hell has frozen over, now let it thaw. As what the setting Congress does so will history, write. Stop trying to deface the President because he is Black!

    July 30, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. Starky

    How's that Stimulus Package working out?

    July 30, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Bryan

    Obama's idea of compromise: "You'll accept my plan and I'll reject yours. That way, we both get something I want."

    July 30, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. DaveW

    I'm a registered Republican, but I support the President's plan. I want my Republican congressman to vote "Yes" for once. Put country ahead of party, please.

    July 30, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. chachabrown

    I got a grand bargain for him. Resign today and I'll hire someone.

    July 30, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Quit trying to penalize people who are successful and they will invest in businesses and create jobs."

    No they won't. They'll invest in derivatives and hedge funds and other Wall Street gambling products that have only the remotest tangential and attenuated relationship with direct investment in businesses.

    "JUST GET OUT OF THE WAY and the private sector will take over."

    Last time the gov't "got out of the way," it repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and opened the door to Wall Street sending us into the worst recession in a century.

    July 30, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Producerman

    If you voted Republican in the last election.. then you are to blame.

    July 30, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. jsmoulder

    He is out campaigning again, instead of sitting down and doing his job. Nothing new here at all.

    July 30, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Guest

    if it's Obama it will be grand theft.

    July 30, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Especially when the IRS is coming after my son who has never earned more than 20 thou a year
    -------------------------------------------------
    You do realize being a retired school teacher that President Obama DID NOT make up the tax code that affects your son.
    If he owes he needs to pay them. If it is a mistake on their part he needs to take it up with the IRS just like the rest of and seek resolution.
    Did you complain about the unemployment checks that the President made sure he was able to receive even though the Repubs wanted to cut back on the lenght of time he could receive said benefits?
    Jeezus please us.

    July 30, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "There is no coincidence that Obama has presided over the slowest recovery since the Depression."

    You're right. It's quite explainable when you look at the absolute, dogmatic refusal of the GOP/Teatrolls to even lift a finger to help the economy and their massive, record-setting obstruction of all others' efforts to do so. It's no mystery why we've languished. The mystery is why people like yourself feel there's no cognitive dissonance involved in boasting about the obstruction of everything Obama has tried to do while simultaneously claiming that he's done so much and it's all his "socialist" policies that have hampered recovery. Which is it? Did you stop him or did he go hog-wild enacting whatever he wanted? Hmmm?

    July 30, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Larry in Houston

    LOL – - After reading this article – - one wonders what Obama is going to do ? LOL – - Is he going to bring those millions of factories Back, that were on both sides of every river, in the rust belt states ?? LOL – in the last 35 yrs –
    I remember there was factories on Both sides of the Hudson / The Potomac / the Ohio / the Monongahela / the St. Croix / the Red River / the Charles river / the Allegheny / SHALL I go On ?

    July 30, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. BalancedBudget

    Obama isn't fit to run a car wash, much less our economy. His idea of job creation is government jobs, which produce nothing. It's basically welfare for those unwilling to get a real job.

    July 30, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Michel wrote on page 16:

    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?
    -----------
    They've been pushing "The Ryan Plan", which doesn't balance the annual deficit for 30-40 years.

    =========================================

    Padraig

    Intereseting article I read in one of the major times newspapers the other day. It stated and had the data behind it that the African American communitry unemployment numbers were considerably worse off under the Obama Administration than under any other administrations since Reagan.
    ------------------------–
    Has it occurred to you that the same could be said about white people, and just about every other race in this country?

    July 30, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    " It stated and had the data behind it that the African American communitry unemployment numbers were considerably worse off under the Obama Administration than under any other administrations since Reagan. "

    And the best part? That the GOP/Teatrolls think the minority community can be convinced it was all Obama's fault and that they're all so stupid they didn't notice the GOP/Teatrolls' behavior over the past 5 years. Haha! Hilarious. It's so cute that they think they can cite these statistics to convince minorities to flock to the GOP/Teatrolls. Please proceed, guys....it's working ever so well.

    July 30, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. byebyegop

    Because we all know how the economy was booming 5 years ago right? 2007-2008 was just great? The RNC and every republican blames the POTUS when the country's economy blew up on their watch. What a joke. Go back to FOX and feed at the trough.

    July 30, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Jason

    Liberals would never get anything until Harry Reid is fired along with "I-couldve-doneit" Pelosi

    July 30, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. Jules

    I think we should wait on this infrastructure thing until several more bridges fail. Let's not worry about the highways that are filled with cracks and potholes that ruin our tires and autos and so what if a few more trains go off the neglected tracks. I haven't been hurt yet, so it probably is ok to wait and not spend the money. Of course, if one of my family is injured because of faulty infrastructure you can bet your bottom dollar I will be suing someone.

    July 30, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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