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. NDLily

    So, you're going to cut the corporate tax rate (less money coming in) and "invest" in jobs, which is DC speak for throw more taxpayer money at a problem in an ill defined way so it simply melts into the atmosphere (so more money going out).

    Can't see what could possibly go wrong with this plan.

    July 30, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  2. ILikeRush

    Cut taxes and raise spending? Not to smart is he? Aren't we broke now and trillions in the hole? Stupid is as stupid does.

    July 30, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  3. wolfpackbob

    President Obama does not meet regularely with his own hand-picked Jobs Council! Turn off the teleprompter and do YOUR JOB, Mr. President.

    July 30, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. Taroya

    How many times is Obama going to try and work with people that don't WANT to work, and won't work with HIM if they actually did decide to do something?

    The tparty doesn't want a middle class, they all want to be the 1%, and the rest of the USA can go hang, as far as they are concerned.

    I am so sick of the tparty!!! WOULD THEY PLEASE GO AWAY? Nothing but a bunch of losers, and sore losers at that.

    We could have been out of this recession quite a while ago if the tparty had actually done some work, instead of dragging my country down their rabbit hole.

    Why would anyone would elect a yahoo to Congress that believes gov't is evil? By that very belief they are not qualified to be in Congress.

    July 30, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. ILikeRush

    Cut taxes and raise spending? Not to smart is he? Aren't we broke now and trillions in the hole? Not too smart is he.

    July 30, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Obama has no concept of how much his policies have killed jobs. No concept whatsoever.

    July 30, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. What a joke!

    So tired of Obama's rhetoric. Loser!

    July 30, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. MP

    Raise import tarrifs and lower corparate taxes. Make it cheaper for businesses to do business here than to make it over there and ship it here and the middle class jobs will come back.

    July 30, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  9. Paulie

    We dont need to give Obama's administration any more money. I am still waiting for the last jobs we paid for and he promised. Thanks.

    July 30, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Paul Cooper

    The only jobs government creates are government jobs. And those cost money. They don't save it. They don't create it. They just spend it.

    July 30, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  11. Tundra

    Make lower rates for each person making between 35K and 75K on their payroll. Raise the rates on those making over 150K on the books. Take all these companies with the huge top heavy pieces and even them out some.

    July 30, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  12. skytag

    The corporate tax rate issue illustrates how dysfunctional Congress is. Everyone thinks the corporate income tax rate needs to be lower and yet Congress still hasn't done it. When Congress can't do something everyone agrees is a good idea you know we're in trouble.

    July 30, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. Tim

    Can Obama be more clueless? Cutting corporate taxes will create more jobs. He does not need another Democratic pork barrel.

    July 30, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. liberal disease

    if this guy employs people he loses half of his voting base, if indeed he knew how to employ people, since he has never had a real job.

    July 30, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. edog355

    This is a great opportunity to discuss the need for big government.

    Since when did it become the government's, specifically the President's, responsibility to create jobs for everyone? I've read the Constitution many times and have yet to see that responsibility listed for Congress or the Executive.

    July 30, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. Anomyous

    I am very interested in seeing the proposal. If he is genuine and not offering a 1% corporate tax rate cut then we have a starting idea. I have been no fan of Obama but if this is a genuine deal and not the typical smoke and mirrors then to me it is the first time he has shown leadership qualities and I will give him props.

    July 30, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  17. rgcheek

    GOP wants corporate tax breaks, and real Americans want jobs.

    So kill two birds with one stone by making any new tax breaks based on numbers of documented American citizens employed by the company or corporation in question. The more they employ, the bigger their tax break. Also, why not give dividend tax breaks on how much the company in question employs Americans?

    Jobs would grow like wild fire as the companies tried to maximize their tax breaks and the tax base of the economy would grow the federal budget and shrink the deficit too.

    July 30, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. ghostwriter

    Nice to see the conservatives posting here with a open mind.

    July 30, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  19. Joe M.

    If I had any confidence that less than 75% of any "investment" in infrastructure would not be completely wasted in the form of handouts and cost overruns, overtime payments to union workers, and delay after delay in construction, I'd be all for it. Unfortunately, I have no such confidence.

    July 30, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. Malory Archer

    HenryMiller

    When Democrats say "investment," what they really mean is "hammer some people with more taxes in order to give the proceeds to other people they like."

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    But I thought President Obama was all about taking from the "wealthy job creators" and giving to the "lazy, deadbeat 47%. According to the article, he's suggesting cutting CORPORATE TAXES! Guess the tighty righties were wrong about him all along.

    July 30, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  21. jake

    it only amounts to more travel time for him that way he is away and don't have to answer the other problems that exist. there are many. how many frequent flier miles does he have now.?

    July 30, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  22. liberal disease

    I thought the stimulus was supposed to create jobs..800 billion in the toilet and I never hear Obama mention a word about it.??

    July 30, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. rgcheek

    The GOP wants corporate tax breaks and the AMerican people want jobs, so why not kill two birds with one stone and base any new corporate tax breaks on how many and what percentage of the corporation or company employs American citizens? And double down on that by basing dividend tax breaks on how much the comany in question employsAmericans as well?

    We would see jobs growing like wild fire, the tax base explode in growth and an American people much more likely to be agreeable to more immigration reform.

    Why not? We can all win if we cooperate and see where the interests of the American people, the government and corporations all come together.

    July 30, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    Fed Up

    Sounds great, but it will surely end up just being political rhetoric, another tactic to shift focus from all of his scandals!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What "scandals"? The ones the rethugs keep creating that keep blowing up in their face like the Acme dynamite the Coyote always tries to use on the roadrunner? Yeah, there's no "there" there.

    July 30, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  25. Al

    The grand plan, tax a company higher until they do offer jobs.

    July 30, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
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