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. Tim

    You people dont deserve anything remotely like Obama. That man has refrained from back biting attacks, stonewalling tactics and hateful comments that the repuiblicans have done over and over. Hes not perfect but hes 20x better then Bush and he at least TRIES to make an ACTUAL comprimise instead of the Republicans version of comprimise, give use everything and you get nothing and we agree else WAAAAAAAAHH /stomps foot and cries.

    July 30, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Ar45

    Great Plans. Hope obstinate Congress goes along with if. Of course, minor changes are always possible.

    July 30, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. SoMuchNonsense

    The republiclowns have no desire to help American families. Their only goal is to make Obama look bad so their low information voter base in the red states will keep electing their conmen to office so they can keep their billionaire donors from having to ever pay taxes as they rape the country for the 20th decade in a row. The republican controlled house voting to repeal Obamacare 39 times, knowing it would never pass the Senate, nor would Obama ever sign the repeal into law shows they couldn't care less about wasting money. How about working on some bills that have a chance of passing in the Senate and being signed by the president that help create jobs instead of the 40th vote to repeal Obama care?

    Republican states, like Kentucky for example, TAKE $1.57 from the federal government for every $1.00 they give to the federal government, yet Mitch McConnell, who's been one of Kentucky's senators for DECADES tries to claim it's the liberals who are bankrupting the country. NO, Conman McConnell it's YOU and your party of liars, and charlatans.

    July 30, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. P. Barker

    But, then, what is Obama's position on the Keystone Pipeline? Or, is he really more interested in "headlines"? Trash canning the current tax code for all players in the economy would be a real grand bargain. Taxes represent the biggest theft of wealth from the economy.

    July 30, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Jerry

    old news, old news, old news..
    Let's get the Dem and Lib out of the way and let us move forward with tax reform and allowing businesses to create jobs which the FEDS can't do anyway...

    July 30, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Mark

    " If your a liberal or democrat and you still support this liar in chief well then."

    Well then. That is one way to form trust and get some work accomplished.

    July 30, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The GOBP have no solutions,only threats to shutdown the government. That's all they have. Downgrade America's credit again.

    July 30, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Kevin B

    You can't just offer someone a deal and declare it a "Grand Bargain"....What is he a used car salesman?

    July 30, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. J G

    Obama's grand bargain should be getting out of the way of business and letting them grow without government interference or regulation.

    July 30, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. Roberts

    Here's a bargain for YOU, Obama. How about dropping Obamacare, decreasing taxes indefinitely, and get govt's nose out of our lives and out of our businesses. This is not Oceania; we do NOT need the government running every facet of our economy or our lives!

    July 30, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. nomad2003

    the problem with a one time tax on overseas income to create "full time jobs" is how to pay the salary next year so it is a full time job.

    The only tax advnatage in overseas jobs are unemployment taxes, workmens comp, SS, medicare, etc... yet overseas there are other taxes... so over all it is not taxes but the pay scale.

    And Amazon is doing it without Federal intervention.... best if the Feds stay out...

    When is Obama going to take responsiblity for his actions for the last 5 years.. worst recovery... income down 5% not up, people so fed up they stopped locking for work...

    this president fails the 'duck' therom... he does not act like president, and he quacks like 2 year old... it is someone else's fault not his.... yet his policies for the last 5 years and almost a doubling of the national debt.

    July 30, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. 302baller

    If the GOVT wants to help AMERICANS get jobs. They SHOULD MAKE ILLEGAL companies that do credit checks on potential employees. Many people have bad credit or bruised credit due to the economy. There are plenty of good character people with good skills who get denied employment because companies use credit scores which were designed for banks to lend money to determine character of an employee. Many skilled people cannot get jobs because of this. How can someone pay debt if they can't get a job!? This is the most un-American thing to come up in the last 15 years ...it should be stopped and made illegal!!!

    July 30, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. kenman

    Your picture is worth a thousand words! It's of the shadow President, the real voice behind this empty shirt, THE TELEPROMPTER!

    Ask the Hillary Campaign of 2008 what he brings to the table, what he has to offer to address the needs of the country: A SPEECH!

    July 30, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. J Russ

    Manufacturers will add jobs when demand for their product requires it not when their profit increases slightly becauseof reduced taxes.

    July 30, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. DocHollywood

    Boehner immediately held a press conference and announced "If Mr. Obama wants a deal, we'll take the lowering of corporate tax rates and a 41st voteon the repeal of Obamacare. But jobs? We won't be caught helping in creating jobs. Because we've always said that creating jobs is our number one job.

    July 30, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. 302baller

    More Jobs for Americans, one quick fix is to make ILLEGAL to do a credit check on potential employees. This is an unAmerican terrible practice! There are many people who fall into hard times and then can't get a job in a tough job market because of this.

    July 30, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. 302baller

    If the GOVT wants to help AMERICANS get jobs. They SHOULD MAKE ILLEGAL companies that do credit checks on potential employees. Many people have bad credit or bruised credit due to the economy. There are plenty of good character people with good skills who get denied employment because companies use credit scores which were designed for banks to lend money to determine character of an employee. Many skilled people cannot get jobs because of this. How can someone pay debt if they can't get a job!? This is the most un-American thing to come up in the last 15 years ...it should be stopped and made illegal!!!

    July 30, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. CosmicC

    The Republicans still don't get it; our system is built on compromise. If they're not willing to compromise, the system doesn't work. Obama also doesn't get it. He's bad at negotiating. Each time the Republicans say no, he yields more. They need to agree to move a bit off of their starting line before coming in with a second offer.

    July 30, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. leah

    I blame Congress for not bothering to get together and discussing realistic plans (including real bills negotiated across the aisle that might have a real chance of passing Congress) for jobs programs for the middle class, especially after most of their deregulation in the early 2000's was what caused the economic collapse of '08.

    July 30, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Louis

    Just great–corporations get the tax breaks and the taxpayers (who will not receive tax breaks) get to pay for the jobs
    programs. So much for the "Champion of the Middle Class".

    July 30, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. DJ

    We all won't fall for this man again. 80 Percent of adults in America are either unemployed, rely on government, or living near poverty. Obama won't help the middle class more than he'll destroy it more..

    July 30, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. Bill

    Seems most of the comments should be on the Faux News website, not here. Those that say the government cannot create jobs are actually pretty dumb. The government has basically started INDUSTRIES, not just jobs.

    July 30, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. NameFrank Deery

    If Obama has a home in Chicago, why is he and family, plus 75 staff(food and hotels), "fleeing DC" for Martha's Vineyard, while 72% of Americans are just struggling to get by? Bush vacationed at Crawford, not Cannes or Carnel! The nation is A Mess!
    He shams, so Congress, of course, "follows
    the leader". If he stayed at his Desk, Congress would!

    Wake up, America! Obama is a lousey President! The 2014 elections will prove my
    point.

    July 30, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. CMML

    The devil will be in the details on this one. Pretty hard for anyone to say they are against tax cuts and investment in infrastructure, but what else will be attached? This where the ugly side of politics comes in. Both parties will try to attach amendments to the bill in order to get the other side to vote against it for political reasons. It's stupid.
    If Obama can show how we can responsibly pay for these programs (even down the road through lower unemployment then it will be tough to reject.

    July 30, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. jp

    Lower coporate taxes to 28%. Wow!!!

    You americans should be thankful you still have any coporate head offices. The coporate tax rate in Canada is 17%.

    July 30, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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