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. GD

    Grand Bargain? Ummm....who did he bargain with? Answer: Nobody, as usual...

    This is nothing more than trying to get a headline; followed up with speeches to change the narrative! As much as the republicans annoy me, they're right on this one.

    Obama leadership = Create crap in a silo, sling it across the aisle to see if it stinks or sticks. Either way, he counts that as a win.....while in the meantime, noooooothing gets done. The guy is a joke!

    July 30, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. ;lkj

    BO know the economy

    July 30, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Random Dude

    So halfway through his 5th year, Mr. Obama would like to get serious about helping the US economy....?? I like his approach to corporate taxes...but I'm still not sure what incentives we currently have that incentivize US companies to shift jobs to other countries....? Seems like Obama is just pulling popular soundbytes from the last presidential debate, rebranding them as his own ideas...don't worry Mr. Prez, while some of us remain skeptical, most Americans fall victim to your stagnate rhetoric.

    July 30, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Big Al

    Real quick:
    1) What has been the rate of black unemployment since Obama took office? (Never below 13.1%, Highest has been 16.8%, March 2010)
    2) Who had lower black unemployment numbers, Bush II or Obama? (Bush by far)
    3) Would you complain if the black youth (16-19 yrs old) unemployment rate went above 40 percent? (It has been above 40 percent. (53 months of reporting under Obama: 29 months where the rate was 40% or higher. The highest rates were: 48.6%, Sept 2010; 48.5%, Nov 2009; and, 48.0%, Oct 2010). The current rate, June 2013, is 43.6%.

    Did he address this data in his latest round of speeches?

    July 30, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. The REAL Truth...

    @Phoney President Obama – Obama knows absolutely nothing about how to create real jobs. All he knows is how to take money from others to create government jobs. Government jobs are OVERHEAD on the economy. Obama just doesn't get it. Never has, never wlll.
    -----------------------–
    Yet another right wing low information post.
    Try turning OFF Fox for 15 min. Do a little research... look for Federal Employee counts.. you'll NOTICE that Obama, since 2009, has REDUCED (not increased) the number of Federal Employees by around 300,000 !! Duh!
    BEsides, I recall the GOP gaining control of the House of promises of jobs, jobs, jobs. Good thing I'm not one of those waiting on them to do something about it!!

    July 30, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Big Al

    What is the Obama Administration's policy concerning black unemployment?
    Answer: BENIGN NEGLECT.

    July 30, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. jamie

    Another rope de dope

    July 30, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. dmf

    President Obama 's latest offer of tax breaks for business corporations to challenges one more time GOP in Congress . The 113th Congress led by House majority 's non actions on job creation programs for : 23 million unemployed and under employed , 47 million under poverty line and a seriously shrinking middle class for years , 4.4 million Americans ' long-term unemployed , the teenage joblessness rate stuck at 24.5% , huge decline in Summer jobs for youth , the business investments on hold , have been and hurting the economy big time . The GOP in Congress has reached height of trivial pursuit by only naming Post Offices , and voting No to Affordable Healthcare Act . a Law of the Land , for the 38th time . The 113th Congress 's record partisan behavior , and waste of time paid by tax payers got a 12 percent job approval rating . Congressmen , here is an opportunity to deliver jobs across these United Sates for the people in need .

    July 30, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. USwatcher

    GOP brought this country to it's knees in 2008...they are still at it...the GOP is just wrong for America.

    July 30, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Sarcastic idiot in charge with no substance

    July 30, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Jwr

    Int the news cast it was reported that amazon paid just above poverty line wages @ $24k... TRUE...IF ..every worked had a family of four. BIG if. Careful what u believe..

    Persons in family/household Poverty guideline
    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,020 for each additional person.
    1 $11,490
    2 15,510
    3 19,530
    4 23,550

    July 30, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. CaliLiberal

    Before the President even officially spoke about his jobs idea, the GOP were already panning it. They are against everything, they are for nothing! Name something the GOP has done to help the middle class this year. You can't, all they have focused on this year is the NSA, Benghazi, IRS, repeal Obamacare, and abortion. They have obstructed every single initiative the President has proposed for five years now.

    American Jobs Act – Blocked
    Help for struggling Homeowners – Blocked
    First Responders Bill – Blocked
    Infrastructure Bill – Blocked
    Small Business tax breaks for creating jobs in USA while removing tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas – Blocked
    School modernization act – Blocked

    Before you belive all of the nonsense about Obama's economic policies are a failure, remember that they were never even allowed to be implemented. Don't be a sheep for FOX Noise.

    July 30, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. G-Simms

    Here we go again with the obstrution from the repubs. Its ok through. They're the ones facing re-election in 2014, not the prez. On big al about the jobs report, what the hell are you talking about? Remember, it was people, like yourself, that allowed the GOP to take over local govt. and federal govt. Thats why the job or employment rates are where they are today. If u want to see a difference, vote those repubs out, unless you're one of them. If u are, then I feel for you.

    July 30, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Dave

    dmf – The devil is in the details, and admittedly the plan so far is lacking details.

    July 30, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Steve Hamilton

    Did Mitch McConnell ever take an Economics course while in college? Did he get a passing grade? If he did, his parents ought to ask for a refund because he didn't even learn the fundamentals. BTW, the fundamentals have just proved themselves true in Europe, where countries that established austerity budgets damaged their economies so much that the IMF recently stated that austerity budgets damage economies recovering from a recession. Why do Mitch and his fellow Republicans demand an austerity budget for the US? What's their hidden agenda?

    July 30, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Dave

    @dmf – The devil is in the details, and admittedly the plan so far is lacking details.

    July 30, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. azresi

    Just another in a long series of our President trying to create a climate from which which to grow living wage jobs and the republicans working avidly to make sure that doesn't happen. Get the R's out of politics and give us a chance.

    July 30, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. knklhead

    So Mitch McConnell sticks his turtle neck out from his turtle shell to negate anything that could be positive for our Country. Ideas, GOP? Nope. Just obstruct ...

    July 30, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. us_1776

    Obama, the "grand bargain" has to first occur between the Tea Party and the rest of the GOP.

    No other bargains matter.

    .

    July 30, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. LarryH

    @Steve Hamilton: The Republicans' not so hidden agenda is to completely eliminate the federal government, or at least any part of it that doesn't benefit the wealthy. And of course they also want to make Pres. Obama a complete failure, regardless of what it does to the rest of the country.

    July 30, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. jerrymcm1970

    "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." LOL! Yeah, good luck with that.

    July 30, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. All Life Is Precious

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.............................Not AGAIN!

    We heard his claptrap in 2008, 2009...............then NOTHING for 4 years. Now he's back to square one. When will this dimwitted failure realize that WORDS are cheap. And in 5 years we sure haven't seen any ACTION!

    July 30, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Bigdoglv

    Just another blame it on the Republicans set up. From some of the comments posted, its already working.

    July 30, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. USwatcher

    GOP campaigned for JOBS ahead of the 2010 elections...voters fell for it...GOP blocked American Jobs Act...GOP will campaign for JOBS ahead of the 2014 elections...voters have short memory?

    July 30, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. tnsurge

    Let's face it people. Anything the President proposes, even if it is verbatim a Republican plan is going to be meet with opposition by McConnell, Boehner and associates.

    July 30, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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