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. The Eternal Satyr

    Meanwhile, elsewhere in the news (NPR radio on WETA 90.0 FM), it was just reported that the unemployment rate in Washington DC has "inched up".

    I strongly suspect that the unemployment rate in Washington DC could be 100% and that would suit most of America just fine.

    July 30, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Jerome

    Republicans are a sad group. All they do is sit back and reject ideas while coming up w/nothing on their own. I guess any group that would come up w/a voucher plan for Medicare is not capable of any kind of forward thought

    July 30, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. michelle

    How can this be called a 'grand bargin' when there's so many out of work or underemployed? Bottom line: BOTH the Demonrats/ReLIEorats are experts at one thing: making sure they keep their jobs, benefits, etc., while we, the people lose ours.

    July 30, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Johnny does

    Why is he at Amazon
    those aren't middle class jobs

    July 30, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Randall Shutt

    I'm not sure what's so hard to get here. The economy is the way it is because we outsource all of the work that the average person can do (e.g. manufacturing, phone support, etc...) to the lowest bidder. Meanwhile, public education is in shambles, kids today think learning is a bad word, and those who do go to college do so to learn skills which are either not in demand or do not help the nation compete on the global level.

    The biggest mistake that was ever made was not to properly charge companies to outsource...

    Free trade is NOT equal to FAIR trade. If we had FAIR trade, we'd balance trade deficits with foreign nations by padding the tariffs on imported goods and services until the trade was balanced and we could use that income for improving our own workers skills and investing in our own infrastructure projects.

    But then again, that ship has sailed. We lower corporate tax rates without providing any real incentive to hire American, and we just make the rich richer.

    July 30, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. AZ Girl

    And hey, at least the President offered one. We're still waiting for a republican jobs bill from 2010 aren't we? Must have been put to the side behind the 3,000 times (sarcastic #) they tried to get rid of the AHCA and taking away my right to choose.

    July 30, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Stan Yer Ground

    Another attempt at making headlines while trying to cram a bad plan down our throats. Socialist politics posing as a "grand bargain". This guy's counting on public support for his plan, knowing the uneducated masses will never understand he's just selling snake oil.

    July 30, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. John Harington

    Gosh what a brilliant idea! The first $6 trillion Obama flushed down the toilet didn't make any of his promises come true (things are actually worse for the middle class now) so let's hand the empty suit a few more trillion.

    What I find almost as disgusting as Barack Obama himself is how the media holds him to an infinitely lower standard than they ever did to Reagan or either Bush.

    July 30, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. The_dude

    Whatever ofailure is planning it can't be in the best interests of the people

    July 30, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Keep Fear ALive

    I'm afraid we Couldn't possibly go along with this plan ... Tis true that they are all republican ideas.. but when it's proposed by a black president that the GOP is Christian-ly trained to HATE, then all bets are off... obamam could truly propse a national abotion ban and the GOP would suddenly turn pro choice ... thats because they HATE America and the Black president and will do ALL they can to see that each FAIL .... and for that they should be executed for treason ...

    July 30, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. seanster5977

    Let's face it people. Obama has been in office almost 6 years, and he has yet to have a single decent idea regarding economics and getting America working. It has nothing to do with the Republicans.

    July 30, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. altalks21

    No tax breaks for businesses that have employees on welfare. Why should taxpayers pay twice, once for the tax break, then again for the welfare. No more soaking the taxpayers, while businesses make profits off the backs of taxpayers.

    July 30, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Too_Funny_But_Not_Haha

    nothing new here – just another attempt to get more "revenue" so he can spend it – too bad most of what he spends it on fails

    July 30, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. DaveinIL

    "remove current tax incentives to send jobs overseas". A bogus liberal strawman. Corporations can deduct expenses arising from actions they take in the US. Trying to prohibit ones that are out-sourcing related would be one more level of bureauocratic boondoggle of rule making and enforcement.

    July 30, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. woodie

    I have zero confidence in Republican's to do anything whatsoever. They haven't so far.

    July 30, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. newscale62

    Some people who look for a "hole in a sweater" will just make one up if they don't see one.

    July 30, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  17. BigJolie

    He should have done this 8trillion dollars ago.

    July 30, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. USwatcher

    Voters signal in 2014 that they cannot support the GOP any longer.

    July 30, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. Des Perado

    Obama was inspired as he emphasized Tuesday that he has a plan that is even bolder
    He’ll start by creating the two MOST NEEDED JOB VACANCIES…those of his and Eric Holder !!!

    July 30, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. Michael

    The obstructionists in the party of NO need to be shown the door in 2014. I'm so sick of them. I hope the American people have realized that if the President found a cure for cancer and the implementation of the cure had to be voted on in Congress........it wouldn't pass. They do NOT represent the majority of Americans when they keep doing this.

    July 30, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Jeff R

    According to CNN, the Obama administration left the 'Grand Bargain' proposal on a voicemail to Republican leadership yesterday. Any proposal that can be left on a 30 second voicemail doesn't have much detail in it. How about drafting up actual numbers and bullet points into a document and then we'll call it a proposal. Otherwise, it's just an 'idea'.

    July 30, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. Lisa

    I don't believe in the republican vs. democrat back and forth nonsense. I keep trying to convince myself that I live in one of the greatest countries in the world, but the news/media and even people around town continue to convince me otherwise. Detroit filed for bankruptcy. How many more cities are going to be next? I don't believe the gov't is working in everyone's best interest, and this republican vs. democrat crap is part of the problem. Many families aren't arguing about the political views that others may have. They are worried about where there next dollar is going to come from. They are worried about how they are going to support their family and keep food on the table.

    So many of you are playing into this back and forth nonsense. Open your eyes. What's happening in this country is bigger than political views. We are headed in a direction where there will be a dim future ahead of us.

    July 30, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. If I had a hammer... I'd whack you in the morning

    Gotta love these crybaby GOPers, they look like children against Obama.
    What's wrong? did the skinny black man beat you up and make you call him "boss"?! How degrading that must be for a proud white conservative farmer turned Congressman fresh off the turnip field.

    July 30, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. skarphace

    Obama said, "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."

    Too late. Republicans already said no and they haven't even heard the proposal yet. I guess that for a moment Obama forgot that he was dealing with the Party of No.

    July 30, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Keep Fear ALive

    it's nice to know that when the majority of Voters decide to elect a president.. because we PREFER His ideas, over a duplitous slime like , say, oh... Mit Romney, that SUDDENLY, for NO OTHER Reason, that the person that we elected is BLack, we have to put up with the likes of ' The DUDE" enlightening us with his dribble ...

    July 30, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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